Written by Mckenna Vaughan
I’m sure we have all wondered this at some point in our lives, but what really is the answer? On the fourth of July why do we find our dogs hiding in piles of blankets or under the bed? And why do so many dogs run away on this holiday?
How do I know my dog is afraid?
The general signs of panic in dogs are:
- Ears back
- Spontaneous peeing or pooping
- Destructive behavior
- Panting or pacing
- Tucking their tail
- Raised back or neck hair
Naturally, dogs are afraid of loud noises. When they hear them, their nervous systems are triggered and this causes them to be afraid. The reason they hide or run away from the noise is because it is their survival instinct. Fireworks are also different from other natural sounds such as thunder because they are followed by sudden booms, flashes of light and smells of burning.
Tips for keeping your dog calm on the 4th of July
- Keep them busy
- Provide them with a bone or toy, something to keep their mind off the loud noises
- Provide a safe space
- A closed off room would be a good plan with a tv or noise maker on and curtains closed to prevent them from hearing or seeing the fireworks
- Give them lots of hugs and snuggles
- Human interaction can majorly calm a distressed dog
- Hemp chews may help ease their reaction
- Certain essential oils may also instill a bit of calming
Are all dogs afraid of fireworks?
The answer to that question is no. However, dogs' survival instincts tell them that loud noises are harmful. They can hear four times better than humans so the noises of the fireworks are four times louder to them. When they are puppies they learn what they should be afraid of in the world. If a puppy is outside alone and they hear a lawn mower, they might associate that noise with the blades cutting the grass, therefore they would be afraid of this sound. When they hear the sound of the firework it is associated with the big flaming balls of light. This causes most dogs to be afraid.
In some cases dogs aren’t afraid, such as working dogs. Working dogs like military dogs are trained to be accustomed to loud noises since they will hear them every day. They hear the loud booms of bombs or see large fires, and since they are trained to not be afraid of those things as a puppy, they don’t have that instinct to hide like many other dogs do.
But since your dog was likely not raised in an environment to train them not to fear loud noises, you may see them react to what appears to be a very different situation for them. This is a trait to be appreciated as there are miraculous stories of dogs saving human lives in instances that are not the norm - like a fire, earthquake, storm or from another human or animal that might be a threat. So love your pup for her fear of things uncommon but try to help her through the situation as much as you can so she won't be overly stressed or worse, run away.
Have a happy and safe fourth from ENP!