My wedding anniversary falls on July 4th weekend. My husband and I used to celebrate with a short trip, but not anymore. Not since our pet cam showed my dog, Tampa Bay, shivering and hiding in the closet with my other dog, Justice, standing guard in front of it, constantly barking because of the random fireworks being set off. In our home, dogs and fireworks don’t mix.
My dogs find the noise and the lights terrifying — and they’re not alone. Some dogs — not all — are noise sensitive. Their anxiety can be for short periods or long after the loud noise. Signs include panting, shaking, yawning, seeking comfort from you, hiding, peeing or pooping or even harming themselves. If your dog’s discomfort is minor, there are things you can do at home to help them. If your dog has a more severe reaction, speak to your veterinarian. No dog should have to live in terror on the 4th of July.
An article by Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C. in Psychology Today, discusses the results of a 2015 noise-sensitivity study done in Oslo, Norway, by Linn Mari Storengen and Frode Lingaas from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences in the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. The study found that a bit more than one out of every five dogs was reported to be fearful of noises (loud noises, heavy traffic, thunderstorms and, of course, fireworks). Interestingly, the study of 5,257 dogs (from 17 different breed clubs) found female dogs to be more fearful of noises than males, plus some dog breeds to be more fearful. Of the 17 breeds in the study, those that seemed most afraid were Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Shiba Inus and Norwegian Buhunds. The study also found that neutered dogs were more likely to be fearful when compared to intact dogs and older dogs were more likely to be fearful than younger dogs. The author concludes that this study suggests that noise-related anxiety behavior may be the result of physiology and heredity.
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