Be Careful with Your Dogs and Fireworks!
Fireworks can screw up a dog faster than anything.
Everybody needs to be careful with fireworks around their young dogs and older dogs that have not been properly conditioned to gunfire (see video).
Fireworks are unnatural. You don't have a lot of control over when or where the noise happens. Fireworks can screw up a dog faster than anything. It's a lot harder to fix a gun shy or noise sensitive dog than it is to prevent gun shyness in the first place.
This year, only one of my dogs is showing a little gun sensitivity, so Loretta is going to stay in the house over the holiday while the neighbors are shooting off fireworks.
Here are some tips to prevent fireworks sensitivity in your dogs:
- Keep your dogs as far away from fireworks as possible.
- If possible, bring your dogs inside in a closed-off, interior room.
- Block out the noise with a TV, radio, or white-noise maker.
- Check with your neighbors about their fireworks plans.
- Ask for a phone call before they start.
Sometimes the fireworks start before New Year's Eve or the 4th of July and run a few days after the holiday.
There is NO REASON for a dog to be around fireworks, and I do everything I can to keep my dogs away from them. Usually dogs conditioned to gunfire can handle the noise of fireworks, but there really isn't anything good about them as far as dogs are concerned. We sell a couple of products that are designed to help dogs get over the fear of fireworks, but I really prefer NOT to have to sell them.
CONCERNSMy biggest concern is that a dog will hurt themselves trying to get away from the noise. My second concern is that exposure will create a gun shy or noise-sensitive problem where there doesn't have to be one.
NOISE-SHY DOES NOT EQUAL GUN SHY Just because a dog is noise-sensitive to fireworks, does NOT necessarily mean that will translate into gunshyness, but why take a chance?
My best gun dog ever, Em, never had a problem with gunfire, but she was so afraid of thunderstorms that we had to build a special top for her kennel run so she couldn't climb out or hurt herself trying.
HOW NOT TO EXPOSE A NEW PUP TO FIREWORKS
I was at a party a few years back and watched a new dog get exposed to fireworks completely the wrong way. The dog was in her kennel but still in full view of everything that was going on. Once the fireworks started she became more and more upset and wanted out of the kennel. To calm her down they let her out of her crate and she made a break for it. They didn't find her for two days.
The volume and brightness of fireworks is just too much for most dogs and nothing good is going to come from it. Please take the time to protect your pets while the possibility of unexpected explosions are around.
I do my best to keep all my dogs away from any kind of fireworks. Even dogs that have been properly conditioned to gunfire can become upset or nervous when exposed to fireworks. It just isn't worth it.
Fireworks happens twice a year with New Year's and Fourth of July. You might want to condition your dogs to fireworks, especially if you live where your dogs will be exposed a couple of weeks out of the year. It never hurts to check with your neighbors about their fireworks plans. Give them a heads up that you have a young dog and ask them to give you a call before they start.
People don't think about fireworks until it's too late, so think about it a little now. The majority of dogs don't have a problem with it, but some do. Why take a chance? No point in stressing your dogs out.
Remember, if you want to shoot fireworks, be safe and have fun. Just keep in mind that unexpected noise and stress could create a problem where one doesn't exist. -- Steve