"Fido Fears Fireworks" by Lillian Sikorski

Traditionally, we celebrate the 4th of July with friends, family & fireworks. Fun for us humans but not so much for our dogs. As the vivid colors burst in the sky and loud blasts make us OOH and AAH, some dogs are heading for cover.

Research shows canines have three times as many muscles devoted to hearing than humans and the range of frequencies a dog can hear is at least twice that of the range for people. No wonder some dogs try to flee from the noise of fireworks.

Many dogs try to escape the noise and will also exhibit a variety of stress signals such as; panting, pacing, trembling, licking their lips, and even finding a way out even it means crashing through a glass door.

If your dog fears the noise of fireworks try the follow suggestions to help curb their fear:
1) Keep your pets indoors and make sure they have access to a safe and comfortable place; preferably in a room here they cannot see the fireworks
2) Keep them occupied with games they enjoy, a favorite chew to relieve the anxiety or a dog puzzle to re-direct their thinking
3) Exercise them more than usual that day. This tires them out and helps relieve stress
4) Instead of coddling, which reinforces the fear; apply ‘T-Touch’ – a form of massage for dogs. Dogs hold stress, anxiety & tension in their hip area. Gently apply a slow circular motion to that area to eliminate fear.
5) Another T-Touch massage is to gently rub the base of their ears with your thumbs as this can calm them as well
6) Some dog owners claim the product ‘Thunder Shirts’ calm their dogs

To help address future anxiety, begin desensitizing your dog using the tips listed above. Have a safe and Happy 4th of July.

Lillian Sikorski is a local business owner and professional dog trainer.
(First posted July 2013)


WWN said…
Thank you for sharing your expertise with all of us, Lillian!! :)
Anonymous said…
Thanks for this info, Lillian. I always have mixed emotions regarding the fireworks display over Little Bay. I love to watch, but always feel soooo bad for the poor birds who are displaced, confused and frightened by our 'entertainment.'
Anonymous said…
good info. i have a cat who was frightened as well, so I bought one of those thunder shirts; they make them for cats too. i really wanted it to calm my cat down, for her sake. it was a disaster. she couldn't walk and i finally gave up trying. waste of money...probably would be better for dogs.......
WWN / Cindy Duck said…
Cindy Duck would like folks to revisit Lillian Sikorski's informative article from July about keeping your dog safe during fireworks...as there may be some in the area for the New Year holiday. 'Everytime 4th of July or New Year's Eve Fireworks go off, I've known someone whose dog has gotten out and can't be found, or worse, and I don't want anyone to start the New Year out broken hearted.'

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