Dr. Lee of Lone Mountain Animal Hospital in Northwest Las Vegas discusses canine fear of fireworks and how you can help.
By: Mary Lee D.V.M.
More dogs go missing on the Fourth of July than any other holiday. This is because of the fear they experience caused by the explosive sound of fireworks erupting throughout the day and well into the night. The sound can be terrifying for most dogs. Fear of loud noises is a natural response, the noise prompts their nervous systems causing them to panic. Noise aversion is what happens when your dog attempts to our run the sound that’s frightening them. Scared dogs will leap over fences, break through windows run into traffic and worse. Trying to escape the explosions they end up hurting themselves.
Dogs rely on their senses to understand the world around them. Their sense of hearing is much more developed than human senses. Dogs hear at a frequency of 40-60 kHz while humans hear at a 20-40 kHz. They also have 18 muscles in their ears compared to the 6 in human ears. These muscles allow movement of the ears to amplify sounds. This is why some of the noises that don’t bother us are frightening for them.
Preparing for the fireworks in advance is beneficial. Play the sound of fireworks at a gradually increasing volume at least a month in advance. This will help your pet get used to the sound so that when the holiday comes the fireworks won’t be such an unexpected and frightening surprise.
Turn up the radio or television to help drown out the noise from outside. Cut off the visual stimulation by closing the blinds or curtains. Home kenneling is also a great idea if you don’t plan to be home, in order to avoid damage to your home and your pet hurting himself.
Lone Mountain Animal Hospital has a variety of options including boarding and anti-anxiety medication for dog owners who deal with a fearful and anxious pet. Protect your dog this holiday, speak with a veterinarian and discuss your pet’s specific needs. Schedule an appointment today!
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