Fireworks to mark the July 4th holiday is a celebration for humans and horrible for dogs and shelters across the United States are preparing for an influx of dogs who run away to escape the noise.
Fireworks sound like magnified gunfire and are even louder than a plane takeoff to human ears. But for dogs, who have much more sensitive hearing,
Fireworks measure between 150 and 175 decibels. Human ears are damaged at 85 decibels. While decibles measures how loud sounds are, hertz is the measurement for frequency. We can hear to only about 20,000 hertz. Dogs can hear between 45,000 to 65,000 hertz.
It’s expected this July 4th holiday there will be much larger fireworks in neighbourhoods and homes. Sales of fireworks have gone up in anticipation of the weekend holiday because COVID-19 is keeping people closer to home and not at large celebrations.
“Dogs have been known to dig under or jump over fences, break tethers or even shatter windows in response to their fireworks fears,” said Temma Martin, the public relations manager for the Best Friends Animal Society, one of the oldest no-kill agencies in the United States.CNN
Prevention is key
Statistics show at least 40% of dogs have noise phobias, which can include fear of thunderstorms, leaf blowers, power drills, even hair dryers. But those noises are relatively constant, experts say, while fireworks are frighteningly sporadic and therefore unexpected.
“It’s hard not to feel helpless when you see them shaking and panting and so obviously distressed,” said Dr. John Howe, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, in a statement.
And it’s not just dogs. Cats and many other domestic (and wild) animals have sensitive hearing, provided by nature to find and hunt prey.
Prepare your pet before dark
The key to helping your pet survive this onslaught, experts say, is being prepared.
“With a little advance planning and preparation you can ease your pets’ anxiety and help get them through this time,” Howe said
Some solutions can be using tags and microchips and taking your dog for a lot of exercising before dark. When dogs and cats are tired, they are more calm. And bring your dog inside. Don’t leave them outside or think they should take part in the celebrations.
Other tips could be distracting your pet with new toys or chews and treats or finding a quiet place for them in the most enclosed room possible. There are even YouTube channels for dogs to listen to during the fireworks.
Fireworks don’t last forever, but an anxious dog might think it.
Petfinder.com says July 4th is the day when more dogs run away and get lost than any other day of the year.