Firework season is stressful for dogs of all ages, but especially senior dogs. The best thing you can do for your senior dog, especially during 4th of July weekend, is to keep them secure. Staying home would be ideal, but even if you choose not to there are things you can do to prevent your pooch from getting too scared or even running away from home.
Why Are Dogs So Scared Of Fireworks?
- Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing than humans and may hear sounds four times better than we can. That means those fireworks you can’t hear all that well sound like they’re right next to your dog.
- Also, your dog does not know that it’s the 4th of July (or another holiday such as New Year’s Eve). You’re expecting the noise, but they’re not. It’s just another day for Fido, and unexpected noises will really startle them.
- Sudden noises or other changes initiate your dog’s “fight or flight” response. Also, Rover may feel trapped. They may try to run, bark, and exhibit other symptoms of anxiety such as pacing or trembling.
Steps To Take
- Keep your dog inside — even if they’re usually an outside dog and are well trained. Otherwise, they may run away because of their “fight or flight” response.
- Try to keep your dog in one small and quiet space. If necessary, play some soft music or a favorite television show. This will help minimize any reactions to fireworks.
- Calming wraps such as thunder shirts can work well during fireworks and thunderstorms. These come in shirts, wraps, and vests. The constant gentle pressure they provide really can soothe an agitated pooch.
- Try some training in advance. Play fireworks sounds from a site such as YouTube at a low level, while soothing your dog and giving treats. As time passes, gradually increase the volume of the fireworks. This may allow Fido to associate fireworks with positive moments rather than ones to fear.
- Walk your dog before dark on the day you expect there to be fireworks.
- If Rover hides, don’t resist it. Let them hide or play as they feel comfortable.
If your pet has a history of severe sound phobia, then you may need to talk with your vet about medications to help.