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All around the world, people celebrate holidays with the flashes and booms of colorful fireworks painting the sky.
To us, they mark a celebration. To your dog, they represent the start of world war 3.
This blog discusses the topic of dogs and fireworks, including why they fear them, if they can damage their ears, and offers some natural ways to make the experience a little less ruff for your furry friend.
WHY ARE DOGS SCARED OF FIREWORKS
Dogs fear fireworks because of the noise and unpredictability. These startling sounds can trigger the flight or fight reaction in dogs. Additionally, sound location plays a vital role in dog behavior. If they cannot locate the sound, their stress level may increase. Of course, some dogs handle these reactions worse than others. So, understanding your dog and its reactions is important for managing stress in trying times. You also want to avoid any potential injuries to your dog's ears
DO FIREWORKS HURT DOGS' EARS?
Yes, fireworks can hurt your dog's ears.
They are louder than gunshots and some planes. Dog's hearing is highly sensitive compared to humans as they can detect sounds four times further away and hear higher frequencies. These traits help dogs familiarize themselves with their environment. You can utilize these traits to calm your dog during fireworks.
HOW TO CALM DOGS DURING FIREWORKS
This one might seem obvious, but it's essential, so we will discuss it anyway. Take your dog for a long walk, run, hike, or any activity to get out that excess energy. Once tired, your dog will be more relaxed for the rest of the day. Exercise is also a way to calm your dog before you cut its nails!
Much like humans, dogs need balance in their life to be well-rounded and positive. But that's not the only thing they have in common with humans; they also need interactions with other dogs to make them feel balanced. Take them to the dog park or invite one of their dog friends over for a play date. After playing, they will be in a happier frame of mind.
Background noise will help mask the loud noises fireworks create. Consider leaving the TV or stereo on to create a relaxing environment for your dog. Get some tips for reading your dog's body language here.
If you can, staying home and being with your dog while the fireworks go off is best. We know this isn't always possible, but having you, their best friend in the whole world, there for them would make the experience less scary.
The Calm State Of Mind
In some cases, keeping your mind and body language calm around your dog will be enough to keep them calm as well throughout the big fireworks displays. In the most severe cases, when none of the above methods seem to work, your vet might prescribe a drug to help with anxiety.
WHAT TO GIVE DOGS FOR FIREWORKS
You have tried distracting, exercising, and socializing, but none of these methods seem to be working for your dog. You may turn to your vet for over-the-counter or prescription medicine solutions.
OTC Drugs/Supplements – Over-the-counter drugs and supplements may help your dog if you have exhausted every idea. While they are often very safe for us, they can be dangerous for dogs, so always ensure you get your vet's advice before using them. The most common one people give to dogs is Benadryl.
Giving Dogs Benadryl - Benadryl can have a calming effect on some dogs, just as it does on people. Dogs can only have a specific type of Benadryl, which doesn’t have extra active ingredients. While it's generally considered safe at the correct dose, it isn't something that should be used regularly. Common side effects of Benadryl in dogs include drowsiness, dry mouth, drooling, increased heart rate, and rapid breathing. Rare side effects can include diarrhea, decreased or increased appetite, and vomiting.
Prescription Drugs – The most common drugs vets prescribe for anxiety-related issues in dogs are Diazepam, Lorazepam, Amitriptyline, Buspirone, Clomipramine, Fluoxetine, and Tramadol. These are often the last resort as they have some concerning side effects.
Alprazolam (Xanax for dogs) – The anti-anxiety medication Xanax is the brand name for the drug alprazolam. The Food and Drug Administration approves this medication to treat humans' anxiety disorders and panic attacks. The drug is a controlled substance, meaning it is only available with a prescription from a doctor. It is a powerful drug that poses a particular risk for dogs of all sizes.
Xanax toxicity can lead to respiratory or cardiac distress, both medical emergencies. The symptoms of Xanax toxicity include agitation, aggression, cardiovascular depression, depression (mental), hypothermia, incoordination, respiratory depression, severe sedation, and vomiting.
CALMING DOGS DURING FIREWORKS NATURALLY
You can calm your dog during fireworks natural with essential oils, flower essences, herbs, and CBD.
Essential oils – Frankincense, Chamomile, Lavender, Violet Leaf
Flower Essences – Aspen, Cherry Plum, Mimulus, Star of Bethlehem
Herbs – Ashwagandha, Chamomile, St. John's Wort, and Valerian Extract
CBD for dogs –An increasing volume of research has shown CBD can help prevent or lessen anxious behavior in pets, like separation anxiety or firework phobias. Zen calming chews contain not only CBD, but Ashwagandha, Chamomile, Ginger, and Valerian Extract.
They can be combined with oil or CBD Dog treats to create an even more powerful calming effect. The extract used in these products carries the science-backed benefits of CBD for dogs, at a science-backed dose, without the risk of any psychoactive side effects.
Dogs are particularly sensitive to fireworks, and the resulting anxiety can be traumatic for them. Dogs who socialize often, have a healthy balanced diet and get regular exercise will be better equipped to cope with stress. If you have to use over-the-counter medications always check in with your vet, as they can have very different effects on dogs.