It is very common for dogs to be sensitive to loud noises (including fireworks). While a certain degree of fear during loud noises is normal to keep dogs from danger, if the fear gets worse it can becomes very stressful for you and your dog.
How will you know if your dog is terrified by fireworks? Pretty easy! Look at their behaviour: ears back, excessive panting, drooling, shaking, hiding away, barking excessively, messing in the house etc.
Help your dog with fireworks
If you plan well in advance, you can help your dog tolerate the noise with a gradual desensitisation program. That means exposing your dog to the sounds of fireworks, day after day, starting super quiet (just at the volume they barely hear it) and increasing the volume progressively. Stop increasing the volume if they seem to react badly to it and reward your dog when they respond well. This can take quite a long time, so better to do it long before or after firework season. Each dog is different and in difficult cases consult a vet or qualified behaviourist. Read our top 3 tips to help your dog stay calm around fireworks.
The best way to prepare dogs for fireworks is to think like a dog. They feel scared as they are alarmed by the loud noises of the fireworks but do not understand that fireworks cannot harm them. Read more in our blog: reasons why dogs are often scared of fireworks. That’s why they feel safer when they have a hiding space. You can make your dog a ‘safe haven’ or a ‘dog den’. If your dog already has a hiding place then this space can be used, making it as snug and secure for your dog as possible by adding blankets or bedding.
If you are making your ‘dog den’ from scratch, try to do this a few weeks in advance so that your dog knows it is a safe place when fireworks start.