A couple of weeks ago I came across a “lost dog” page, and I couldn’t believe how many dogs had been lost because of fireworks at Pyramid Lake. While fireworks can be manageably loud for humans, the popping sound is downright terrifying to dogs and causes their flight response to kick in. Dogs truly believe that the best way to survive is to flee, and when dogs are scared they will run across highways and into the hills until they feel safe. Dogs can be frightened by fireworks up to 12-15 hours after the first spark, so it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect our dogs and keep them calm. This summer, keep your dog safe during firework celebrations with these simple protective measures.
5 Precautions to Protect Your Dogs Around Fireworks
- Make sure her collar is tight. If there is room for slipping, it is only a matter of time before it slips right off. In the case that your dog runs, she will be collarless and scared once she stops running. As a general rule, you should be able to slip only two fingers underneath the collar. Attach a strong leash to it and hold on. Do not drop it for a second!
- Don’t hesitate to put her in a crate. While we want our dogs to be with us during the fun, crates prevent a sudden flight response. Remember that even if your dog is in a trailer, it is best to also put her in a crate to avoid destructive panic. Also, if your dog is free in the trailer, once you open that door she will shoot past you. Reassure her of your presence and stay close to the trailer so she can hear your voice.
- Not all loud noises are created equal. I have hunting dogs that are comfortable around gunshots, but fireworks still alarm them. I keep my dogs crated around fireworks, because even the best trained dogs can’t resist the flight response. Know what your dog is used to. (Odds are, they are absolutely not used to fireworks!)
- While desensitization can be a method used for getting your dog used to long car rides, it is not so helpful when it comes to fireworks. Unlike car rides, fireworks only occur a few times a year, so there is not enough consistency for a dog to even begin to get used to them.
- If your dog is more flighty than most, consider leaving them at home all together. While camping really isn’t the same without your pup, it will be best for everyone if she stays home when fireworks are involved.
When you are out celebrating this summer, please be careful. There is no need for dogs to die or be lost due to fireworks. Let’s be responsible and safe for our dogs, it’s our duty as dog owners.