4th of July fireworks: Why are dogs scared and how to keep them calm on Independence Day?

THE 4th of July celebrations across America can be a very stressful time for pooches unaccustomed to the loud bangs of fireworks – but why are dogs scared of fireworks and how can you keep your dog calm this Independence Day?

On July 4, when Americans celebrate the 1776 Deceleration of Independence from Britain, loud fireworks pop off every minute. The colourful jubilations are enjoyed by families and communities hosting parades and barbecues, but frightened dogs see Independence Day differently. The loud bangs and whizzes of fireworks can be a very stressful time for man's best friend. Here is everything you need to know about how to comfort your pup on Independence Day 2019.

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.

Print out this guide and bring it with you when dog food/treat shopping.

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 fireworks: Independence Day 2019

4th of July: Dogs are likely to be scared by Independence Day fireworks (Image: GETTY)

4th of July fireworks: Independence Day 2019

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.

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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: Independence Day 2019

4th of July fireworks: Studies show dogs react with stress to loud noises (Image: GETTY)

4th of July fireworks: Independence Day 2019

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.

“Seek advice from your vet who will, if necessary, be able to refer you to a professional clinical animal behaviourist.”