Why Are Dogs Scared Of Firecrackers & How To Help Them

Why Are Dogs Scared Of Firecrackers & How To Help Them

Author WDF Staff


It's December - the month of joy, love, family gatherings, good food, Christmas carols, and many other goods and positive things. However, the last day of December brings nervousness and anxiety to many dog owners because it is New Year's Eve, and they know there will be bursting firecrackers and fireworks all around the neighborhood.

While firecrackers and fireworks are fun to people and bring joy to many of them, some dog owners are nervous because they know that their dogs will once again have to live through their toughest night of every year.

FACT: Research shows that older dogs, neutered dogs, and females tend to be more sensitive and fearful.

Reasons Dogs Are Scared of Firecrackers and Fireworks

1. Loud noise

For starters, both firecrackers and fireworks are extremely loud for dogs' sensitive ears. Dogs have awesome hearing, and can hear frequencies from about 67 Hz - 45,000 Hz, unlike humans, that can hear frequencies from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz (with aging, these numbers are even smaller).

All the sounds that we hear, the dog hears three times louder. Also, dogs have a different acoustic perception of the world. This is pretty much why dogs hate the sounds of bursting firecrackers and fireworks. It causes them stress.


2. Unpredictable

Another reason why dogs are scared of firecrackers and fireworks is that these things are unpredictable. A lot of humans despise them for the same reason. You never know when the firecracker will go off (unless you are the one throwing them around).

Extremely loud noises and light show that come at random intervals causes dogs to have panic attacks and rapid heartbeats. This is why many dogs find firecrackers and fireworks threatening and will either bark at those sounds to protect themselves and their home, or they will get so scared of this threat that they will try to run away and hide.

They trigger a typical dog's fight-or-flight response. Dogs can't understand what is making such awful noise, and most of them will react as described. Often dogs show other signs of distress and anxiety, such as

  • Restlessness
  • Whining
  • Panting
  • pacing back and forth
  • trembling
  • shallow breathing, etc.

FACT: For some dogs, the sound of firecrackers and fireworks bursting is some of the emotional trauma. 

Of course, not all dogs feel like this when there are loud noises and intense lights around them. Just like humans, every dog is different from the others, and while for some dogs, the sound of firecrackers bursting can cause trauma, some other dogs won't move their paws during these explosions. Some dogs got used to them, some were just less anxious than others, and some dogs were taught not to fear these strange sounds that sometimes occur.

scared chihuahua

FACT: The best time in dogs' development to teach them not to fear (or to tolerate) certain noises are between 8 and 18 weeks of age.

What can you do to help your dog?

Firecrackers and fireworks bursting is sadly unavoidable on some days and during certain events. This is why you need to prepare your dog for these days and give him all the support he needs to stay as calmer as possible.

The best thing you can do is to let your dog inside your house and create a safe haven. Pick a room where sounds are quieter, close the blinds and curtains, and play soothing music or white noise to help drown some of the sounds coming from the outside.

Fill that room with your dogs' toys and blankets to make them feel better and more comfortable. Be with your dog, play with him, give him his favorite treats and comfort him. If your dog has a crate and sees it as his safe space, let him in his crate. You can cover the crate with a blanket. This makes the dog feel more secure.

Make sure your dog is microchipped in case he runs off. It is also a great idea to put a GPS tracker and an ID tag on the dog's collar.

You can also try anxiety wraps and, pressure vests, noise-canceling headphones. You can fill the room with lavender incense because it has a calming effect on dogs. If nothing helps, you can medicate your dog with some sedatives but before doing that, always consult with your veterinarian. 

scared dog

More on how you can help your dog during fireworks and firecrackers bursting, read here - 5 Ways to Help Your Dog During Fireworks.

World Dog Finder team

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