With summer comes a whole slew of fun things for people to do. For most, it’s a more relaxed time of the year in which we can enjoy the outdoors with our dogs. But, there are many summer activities that we, as people, may enjoy that our dogs may not.
Recently, in my neighborhood, I’ve noticed a big increase in loud noises, specifically firecrackers and loud motorcycles and ATV’s. While we may enjoy the magical-ness of fireworks and the freedom of motorcycles, these noise producers may actually increase our dogs anxiety. My dog, Coco, used to be especially petrified by fireworks. In my naivety, I thought it was unique to my dog. Like how people have different fears, I mistakenly assumed this was his but, after doing some research, I was surprised to find that most dogs have this in common.
In general, dogs are much more sound sensitive than people. In other words, dogs’ ears can hear a lot better than people’s. This means that it makes sense that louder noises, particularly when they’re persistent like fireworks, can really hurt dogs’ ears. But more than that, or maybe even because of that, most dogs perceive fireworks to be threatening. While people may like to look at fireworks, dogs are preoccupied with the intimidating and unpredictable booms that the firecrackers produce. Since we’re the ones who set them, we have a better sense of when the firecrackers will go off. We can mentally prepare ourselves for the loud noises and even block our ears, but dogs obviously do not have that luxury. Instead, each booming noise acts as a shock to dogs. In turn, dogs interpret the loud, unpredictable noises, whatever it may be, as a threat. Because of this, you may find that your dog attempts to escape. According to Purina’s website, dogs are more likely to run away on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year, as a result of fireworks. You may also notice your dogs displaying signs of anxiety like pacing, panting, hiding, and crying.
Now, obviously as a dog owner reading this can be upsetting. Because most threatening noises aren’t controllable, it is a lot harder to save your dogs from the anxiety that the noises induce. For example, you can’t control thunderstorms or if your neighbor is setting off firecrackers. Despite that though, there are ways to help soothe your dogs. Once you understand why your dog doesn’t like certain loud noises, it becomes easier to help them. A good start is to make sure that your dogs are inside during the ruckus, but if you them outside with you, definitely put their collar on just incase they try to run away. Making your dogs feel safe and secure is key. This may vary, but I found that taking my dog into a smaller room (the bathroom) helps. Something as simple as giving your dogs their favorite toy or blanket can help ease their anxiety. Some people even recommended “desensitizing” dogs by normalizing loud noises. This may mean playing firecracker, thunderstorm, or traffic sounds with increasing volume during play time. If you need more help, check out some anti-anxiety products such as thundershirts, https://www.bullyfambam.store/collections/dog-anxiety-products.