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Should Dogs Be Around Fireworks on the 4th of July?

Written by The Halo Team

June 7, 2024

When thundering booms go off at night, it can feel like the whole world is shaking. If your dog runs for cover in the face of loud noises, this might be what it thinks of the 4th of July. Running away, hiding, panting and trembling are all signs of anxious dogs that may arise when the lights flash and the explosions begin.

While there’s a lot to love about fireworks season, it doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with pet ownership. A greater risk of stress and lost pets can make the 4th of July a trying time for pet parents, but with a little preparation and a few useful tools, you can keep your dog calm until the sky goes quiet.

Why Fireworks Can Be Problematic for Dogs

Dogs have a heightened sense of hearing, which makes them more vulnerable to loud noises like fireworks displays. Their keen ears can access a wider range of frequencies and volumes inaudible to human hearing, meaning they can pick up on sounds at great distances. Dogs also rely on their hearing to navigate their surroundings and identify communicational nuances.

However, enhanced hearing can make your dog’s ears extra-sensitive to loud noises. The loud bangs and flashing lights common on the 4th of July may trigger fear in canines, prompting a fight-or-flight response that can lead to a pup running off to find somewhere to hunker down for safety.

It’s easy for a dog’s anxiety to flare up in response to these sounds, potentially prompting a serious physiological response. Fear may cause a higher production of cortisol and an increased heart rate, which might lead to other stress-related behaviors, such as hyperactivity or aggression. Some dogs may even develop a noise phobia resulting from stress caused by firework noises.

Not all dogs exhibit signs of anxiety in the face of fireworks or other loud sounds. In fact, many dogs cope with extra noise just fine and will partake in the 4th of July celebration like any other member of the family. On the other hand, certain breeds may be predisposed to noise sensitivity, including herding dogs and working dogs.

How Dogs Typically React to Fireworks

Dogs scared of fireworks may demonstrate their fear in a variety of ways. Some common anxiety signals to watch for in your dogs include:

  • Tail-tucking
  • Trembling
  • Reduced or heightened activity
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Tail-chasing
  • Licking or biting their own body
  • Excessive barking or crying
  • Searching for hiding places
  • Attempting to escape

How your dog reacts depends on a variety of factors, including its breed and genetics. It might display one or several of the signs above to varying degrees. Many dogs exhibit only mild unease, while others experience full-blown distress, which can result in a panic attack.

Unfortunately, noise aversion can lead to potential consequences that might upset both you and your pet. Destructive behavior is a common effect of these outbursts, with some dogs lashing out in response to their anxiety. Some dogs may accidentally injure themselves in their attempts to cope, while others may get lost as they try to find somewhere safe to hide.

Scared dogs covered with a warm tassel blanket

Dogs and Fireworks: Safety Tips for Dog Owners

If your dog shows signs of anxious behavior, there are a few ways you can ease the strain. Start by creating a safe haven within your home where your pup can go when it feels scared or stressed. Opt for a quiet, secured room that won’t give an upset dog room to wander outside and get lost. Fill the space with familiar bedding, and add a favorite toy or two for extra comfort. When the fireworks begin, close the curtains to limit its view of strobing lights. Consider turning on some white noise to mask the booming sounds outside.

Dogs afraid of fireworks may benefit from firework desensitization. You can do this by gradually introducing recorded firework sounds over time. When the holiday rolls around, your dog may not be as startled by the noise. Anxiety vests and pheromone diffusers are also potential solutions, but it’s best to consult your dog’s veterinarian before using them.

A tool like the Halo Collar can also help your dog remain calm. Its geofence technology can outline a safe space for your canine companion to roam, making it a proactive solution to your 4th of July celebration. Real-time GPS tracking means you’ll never lose track of your pup, while safety notifications send immediate alerts if your dog does exit the safe zone. Built-in feedback means you can reward your dog for remaining calm to help keep the peace around unexpected noises.

Alternatives to Staying at Home

You might not want to spend all your firework-heavy holidays at home. If you have the means, consider using the 4th of July or New Year’s Eve weekend to take a trip somewhere rural, where firework displays are minimal. Ensuring your dog gets enough exercise during daylight hours can leave it with less anxious energy to burn during the display. This can mean taking your dog for a run or trying a new summer water activity.

A reputable boarding facility might also offer your dog some relief during the holiday. These buildings are often soundproofed to block the noise from outside, while experienced staff can focus positive attention on your pup until the show is over.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

As a pet parent, keeping your dog safe is always a top priority. If you can’t help your dog cope with its fear of fireworks, it might be time to get your veterinarian involved. Refusal to eat, aggression, and extreme hiding are all signs a dog will need some extra help to stay calm.

A veterinarian will be better suited to assess your pet’s anxiety levels and offer relevant solutions. They might even prescribe anti-anxiety medication to keep your dog relaxed until the holiday’s end.

Keep Calm and Halo On!

Fireworks may pose a risk to dogs that are sensitive to loud noises, but pet parents have plenty of options to help them stay safe. Creating a safe space, getting plenty of exercise and introducing fireworks well in advance can let everyone get in on the fun. And with the Halo Collar’s help, pet owners have the ultimate safety tool at their fingertips. Beloved by pro trainers like Cesar Millan, the Halo Collar is specially designed to promote outdoor safety and reinforce a calm demeanor in your furry friend.

Don’t let fireworks rain on your pup’s holiday. Give it the gift of peace with a brand new Halo Collar.

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