If your dog can hear a grasshopper chew, what do you think firework sound like?

Fireworks are usually associated with spectacular displays or fun activities. Although it may be enjoyed by family and friends it can be a nightmare for our much-loved animals. We need to think of their safety as we would the safety of a small child.

Some dogs don’t seem to care about gunfire or fireworks. Others express mild distress and always want to be close to humans for comfort. Still, many poor souls are absolutely terrified of big bangs. Cats seem to disappear when fireworks can be heard.

Symptoms of fear in dogs include restlessness, pacing up and down, following humans, panting, trembling, barking, trying to escape and salivating.

What can be done to calm dogs that are sensitive to fireworks?

1 If you know about firework displays or the setting off of fireworks near you, start early to protect your dogs before the noise starts. Don’t leave your dog outside even if you have a fenced yard. If the dog is usually kept outside, bring him in well before the event so that he can settle down and get used to the change.

2. If your dog is timid or scared, keep him in a fairly confined space where he can be comfortable. A spare room away from the noise may be a good solution to limit excitability and a chance of running outside and getting lost.

3. Some dogs are very sensitive to peoples’ moods, so may be influenced by the way that you react to the noise. It is best to act normally and go about in a matter-of-fact, confident way rather than trying to re-assure your dog by stroking and petting him. When you act differently you can inadvertently communicate to your dog that there is something to worry about and may make a dog more fearful.

4. Check that your dog’s identification tags are secure on the dog’s collar just in case. Having pet insurance will help you do the best for your dog in case of a problem.

5. If you have to leave your dog alone at home, take time to consider how he can be kept safe while you are away. Close blinds, curtains and doors and turn on the radio, television and air conditioner if they are available.

6. Read “Sound Sensitive Dogs” in the problems section of this website.