Fear of Fireworks

While you and I enjoy the spectacular shows generated by man and by nature, man's best friend may not.

fireworksFireworks and thunderstorms mean it is summertime in Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island, Florida. While you and I enjoy the spectacular shows generated by man and by nature, man’s best friend may not. Some dogs scared by loud noises will whimper at your feet. Others are stricken by panic. They may jump through windows, try to scratch or chew through doors or dig their way free from the safety of the back yard fence in a desperate attempt to escape their torment.

There are some things you can do to ease the suffering of your pet. Make sure identification tags are securely fastened to your dog’s collar so he can be returned to you if he panics and runs away. Check your fence line and fix broken slats. Fill in any gaps that could easily be dug into an escape route. Bringing your pet indoors to an interior room may reduce startling noises from outdoors. The use of a kennel may keep him from hurting himself or destroying your property. Supply your own background noise by turning up the stereo or television to help drown out the offensive sounds of summer.

You can condition your dog to loud sounds by gently banging pots and pans together. Start with ten or fifteen minutes several times per day in a room away from your dog. Have someone else distract your dog with a feeding or play time. Increase the intensity of the noise slowly so the dog becomes used to it. Over time your dog will no longer be disturbed by thunder or a car’s backfire.

Your instinct to cuddle and comfort your frightened pet may make the problem worse, encouraging him to be fearful. Instead, try distracting him, so the noises soon become an afterthought to your pet. Some dogs have severe noise phobias and need to be sedated or tranquilized. This is best discussed with your veterinarian. In the meantime, try these at home remedies and give your pet an Independence Day free of fear.

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  2. Joachim Stiller

    Obviously my dog is completely different. He doesn't even look up at the fireworks. He's a 12 pound snorkie with excellent vision and hearing but nothing seems to ever phase him when it comes to noises. When lightning strikes in the trees across the street, he smiles like they're taking a picture of him. Fireworks? Boring. Now when I pick up my guitar he may whimper into a corner and acts like I give him a beating with it every day. Come to think of it, perhaps I do on a more musical level.

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