Why are dogs scared of your fireworks on July 4?Here in the UK, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) estimates 45 percent of dogs show signs of fear around fireworks.And a 2013 study published in the journal Applied Animal Behavioural Science explored the connections between loud noises and fear in animals.The paper, lead by Emily Blackwell from the University of Bristol, found animals may be preconditioned to react to noise with anxiety.
Researchers interviewed dog owners to determine how their beloved pets reacted to noise exposure.
No, it’s not just to make themselves look adorable. Dogs curl up in a ball when they sleep due to an age-old instinct to keep themselves warm and protect their abdomen and vital organs from predators.
More than half of the surveyed pet owners reported “at least one behavioural sign typical of fear” when experiencing noise.READ MORE: Why does USA celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July?4th of July: Dogs are likely to be scared by Independence Day fireworks (Image: GETTY)4th of July 2019: Americans celebrate Independence Day with a pomp (Image: GETTY)
The study reads: “Owners most commonly reported fearful responses to fireworks in their dogs.
“Response to fireworks, gunshots and thunder frequently co-occurred, suggesting that responses to one loud noise are likely to generalise to others.”
The study noted a dog’s exposure in it’s “early environment” to specific noises shaped its later fearful reactions to noise.
The paper added: “Interestingly, less than a third of owners sought professional advice about treatment for their pet’s response to noises.”
READ MORE: 10 facts about 4th of July Independence Day celebrations
How to calm your dog down on the 4th of July?
If Independence Day fireworks stress your beloved pooch out, there are a number of things you could do to mitigate the symptoms.
Firework phobia is a treatable condition and animals don't have to suffer such misery
Firstly, you should walk your dog during the day to avoid any nighttime walks when the fireworks are more likely to go off.
Once your dog has removed all of the fabric from the ball, you can stuff the scraps right back in!
Then, you should close all of your windows and draw your curtains to muffle as much as possible the noise entering your home.
You can turn on the TV or play some calm music to further hide the sound of fireworks outside.
READ MORE:Where to celebrate Independence Day in the UK?4th of July fireworks: Studies show dogs react with stress to loud noises (Image: GETTY)4th of July fireworks: The holiday celebrates the 1776 Declaration of Independence (Image: GETTY)
Alternatively, you can try to create a quiet and comforting place for your pet to hide during the celebrations.
A scared dog might want to bury its head in a pile of comfortable blankets to drown out the sound.
Cat owners should follow the same steps to make sure their moggies feel safe and secure through the fireworks barrage.
The RSPCA said: “Firework phobia is a treatable condition and animals don't have to suffer such misery every year.
According to an article by Laura Petrecca and Sabrina Treitz, of USA Today , one out of five pet owners will spend money on their pets this Valentine’s Day. A total of $815 million will be spent this year on Valentine’s Day gifts for furry friends; this from a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation .
“Seek advice from your vet who will, if necessary, be able to refer you to a professional clinical animal behaviourist.”