While everyone enjoys the loud explosions of the fireworks…
You’re going deaf at home because of your dog’s endless barks.
Someone needs earplugs.
Keep reading to find out:
- 7 tips to stop your dog from barking.
- Can fireworks trigger PTSD in your pooch?
- 9 real reasons why your dog barks at fireworks.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog bark at fireworks?
Your dog barks at fireworks for reasons such as it’s their survival instinct, being scared, perceiving fireworks as threats, barking is their way to cope, alerting you, making the loud noise stop, lacking exposure, having a traumatic past, or the fireworks are triggering aggression and PTSD.
9 reasons why your dog barks at fireworks
#1: They’re scared
Fireworks consist of loud explosions, sudden bangings, and bright lights.
They’re grand and breathtaking, aren’t they?
But while humans like us may be fascinated with these, sadly, dogs aren’t.
The combination of those three things can make any dog scared out of their wits.
So why would your dog get scared of fireworks?
Your pooch doesn’t know that it’s made for entertainment purposes. They aren’t aware that it’s a tradition people do whenever there’s a celebration.
For your dog, they’re random loud sounds that have come out of nowhere.
And because they’re afraid of it, they bark as their defense mechanism.
According to PetMD, your dog may also show other signs of being scared such as:
- Heavy panting.
- Ears pinning back.
- Whining constantly.
- Increasing heart rate.
- Soiling inside the house.
#2: Fireworks are threats
Boom. Boom. Fweeetttt… Boom!
If you didn’t know that it’s fireworks, you’d also be wondering and frightened by the sound it makes.
It comes with a loud bang. And if there’s a celebration nearby, its sound can vibrate throughout your house.
Try to look at it from your pooch’s perspective. Doesn’t it seem like someone’s trying to get inside your home?
The explosions are like loud knocks. Like someone is breaking through your door.
This is why their ears instantly perk up. They stand to bolt upright. And then they sniff the air.
The reason why your dog barks at fireworks is because they perceive them as threats.
When they hear loud bangs and boomings, their protective trait instantly comes up.
They don’t know exactly where the loud banging is coming from.
So they think that by barking, the unknown sound will reveal itself, or respond to them in some way.
#3: It’s their way to cope
Barking could also be the way your dog deals with their anxiety.
Loud sounds are one of the things dogs are most scared of. So when they hear the fireworks going off, they get nervous and anxious.
“Why is my dog not anxious about the loud sounds of the TV,
but when it comes to fireworks, they’re shaking?”
The reason for this is fireworks are unpredictable. The sound of your TV is.
When you watch TV, use the vacuum, or put the radio on full blast, your dog knows exactly when it starts and stops. They also know where it’s coming from.
They’re just normal things in your household. And they’re used to hearing it all the time.
But the fireworks’ sound is random.
It explodes, then stops. After a few seconds, it crackles.
And then it bangs as its final blow.
Just when your dog thinks the explosion’s already over, they’re back at it again.
Because of the uncertainty on when it’ll begin and end, your dog gets frustrated and more anxious.
So they make vocal noises such as barking or howling to relieve their stress.
#4: Fight or flight response
The moment your dog hears an ear-splitting bang, their survival instinct kicks in.
Should they look for the threat and fight?
Or should they bolt out and escape?
According to statistics, dogs who get lost in the US increase to 30% after July 4th celebration.
Why does this happen?
July 4th is a well-known patriotic holiday that showcases fireworks displays.
Since dogs are frightened of the loud sounds of fireworks, they escape from their houses because of anxiety.
This is where the ‘flight’ response comes in.
And then some dogs choose to face their fear.
They bark in an attempt to engage back, hence where the ‘fight’ response comes from.
#5: Loud sounds are painful noises
Dogs have incredible hearing abilities.
They can hear four times more than humans can.
Because of this, dogs can hear the ground rumble below. And that’s why they can sense if there’s an earthquake coming before we feel it.
So if they can hear that much, can you imagine how loud regular sounds are for them?
It must be deafening!
The sound of the fireworks is already loud for us humans. So hearing it 4 times louder must be so painful to a dog’s ears.
If your dog isn’t showing any signs of fear when there are explosions, then the reason they’re barking is to make the fireworks stop.
Or to make it go away because they’re in pain.
#6: Lack of exposure
Hunting dogs are familiar with guns.
They’re used to the smell of gunpowder and the loud bangs of gunshots.
That’s why for them, hearing the explosions of the fireworks must be a walk in the park.
But since your sweet pooch isn’t a hunting dog, they aren’t used to the booms and the bangs of fireworks.
They’re not regularly exposed to it.
And the unfamiliarity of the sound makes them agitated. Causing them to bark as a response.
#7: It triggers their aggression
Loud sounds can lead dogs to be aggressive.
If your pooch isn’t afraid of fireworks and is ready to take on the ‘fight’ response, they’ll bark to appear threatening.
Be careful, though.
If your pooch is barking and growling at the same time, you might want to give them some space.
The more you stop them by shouting or trying to move them in a quieter place, the more they’ll become aggressive.
Therefore, they may bite or snap at you.
#8: Traumatic events in the past
Maybe as a puppy, your dog has a bad experience with fireworks. So they grew up hating everything about it.
It could be that they got scared the first time they heard the explosions. And they have developed a sound phobia out of it.
Or… your dog could be a veteran service dog.
They could be traumatized by some events in their past.
And hearing the fireworks trigger their PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.
They may have associated fireworks with the things they often heard when they were in a war. Like the gunshots and bombings.
They’re hyper-vigilant of these things.
So they bark to get your attention as they did with their team when they were in conflict.
How can you tell if your dog has PTSD? Look out for these symptoms:
- Being aggressive.
- Having depression.
- Clinging to you out of fear.
- Pooping around the house.
- Constant barking, howling and whining.
#9: They’re alerting you
“Hooman, there’s a loud sound outside!
Please chek for me pls.”
Your pooch could bark whenever there are fireworks to tell you that there’s something happening.
They’re being cautious.
So they also want you to become aware of what’s bothering them.
7 tips on how to get your dog to stop barking at fireworks
#1: Keep them indoors
To lessen the chances of your dog barking, reduce their exposure to the fireworks.
Don’t take them with you outside to watch the fireworks display. That’ll only upset them more.
What you can do instead is to keep them indoors. Close the curtains to prevent the bright lights from coming inside the room.
If they can’t see anything, they’ll likely bark less.
And if you have a basement, or a room where sounds are slightly muffled, then that’s great. Stay with your pooch there.
Not only will they see and hear less of the fireworks. But it will also lessen their chances of escaping out of fear of the loud sounds.
And… speaking of that.
I also recommend putting an ID on your pooch’s collar. Just in case they run away and get lost.
#2: Anxiety wrap
Have you heard of anxiety wraps?
They’re used to lessen your dog’s anxiety whenever there are fireworks.
So how does this work?
By wrapping your dog in a cloth or scarf, you put pressure on their back.
This gives off the feeling like being in a hug. Therefore It helps release your dog’s endorphins and gives a soothing effect on them.
Here’s how it’s done.
Step 1: Put the center of the scarf on your dog’s chest. Then pull it up to their shoulders.
Step 2: Cross its ends on your dog’s back, and bring it under to just above their tummy. Cross it again.
Step 3: Pull it back up and secure it in a tie away from their spine. Make sure that it’s not too tight or constricting.
Watch this video below to see how it works.
Note: If you’re dealing with a dog who has severe anxiety, you can try asking their vet for medication pills to control it.
#3: Desensitize them from the sound of fireworks
Another tip on how you can avoid your dog from barking at fireworks is to desensitize them from it.
Let them get used to its explosive sounds.
Do it slowly and with small steps.
Start by training your pooch a few months before July 4th or New Year’s Eve.
Make them listen to a recorded sound of fireworks, but in low volume first.
Play it at random times within the span of that period. Make the volume louder and play the recording longer as time goes by.
And don’t forget to give them treats when they did a good job ignoring the sound!
By doing this, you’ll condition your dog that the sound of fireworks will not hurt them.
#4: Associate fireworks with good things
Your pooch may have had bad experiences before with fireworks. That’s why they bark whenever they hear loud explosions.
So why not change their perspective of how they see fireworks?
You can try giving them high-value treats whenever you play crackling explosive sounds and they ignore them.
Or you can give them belly rubs whenever there’s a firework display nearby.
By doing this, you’ll make your dog associate fireworks with good experiences instead.
#5: Keep calm
One of the most effective ways to stop your dog from barking is to keep calm.
I know that the sound of the loud fireworks and your dog barking is painful for your ears.
But try to restrict yourself from yelling your heart out.
You don’t want to shout at your dog at this time. This will only stress them more.
And they could think that you’re shouting because you’re afraid too.
To make your pooch calm down, communicate with them through your body language.
Show them that you’re relaxed. Ignore their barking.
Make them see that for you, fireworks are a regular kind of thing.
“It’s just fireworks, doggo.
Nothing to be scared of. See? I’m so chill.”
Your pooch will sense that you’re not afraid. And you’re not paying attention to their barks at all.
Therefore, they’ll eventually stop.
#6: Give distractions
Dogs love a good challenge.
When there’s something that’s frightening them and making them feel agitated, give them distractions.
Play a game or teach them a new trick.
By doing so, your pooch will be more focused on doing a good job, rather than barking at the fireworks.
You can also provide them with long-lasting chewing toys like ‘Kong’.
So even if the firework displays will last for hours, your dog will have something to do.
#7: Stay with them
Your pooch who barks at fireworks because of fear or anxiety mostly needs your presence.
So every time they’re scared, stay with them.
Drown the sounds of the fireworks by playing a piece of calming music instead.
And if you feel like spoiling your dog during this time, feel free to do so.
Especially if you notice that their heartbeats are going fast, give them a massage to help them relax.
Just simple ear touches will go a long way. Rub their ears in a circular motion.
And remember that with you, they’ll feel most secure.