Dogs react differently to fireworks

With just over a week before the Forth of July, the sounds of firecrackers and fireworks can be heard nightly. For many dogs, these loud sounds are frightening. My family’s past two dogs, Mocha and Lucy, were afraid of these loud noises evoking responses of howling, trembling, cowering and pacing from both pets.

According to thesprucepets.com, more pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day. The noise emanating from fireworks can trigger dogs’ nervous systems. Dogs become apprehensive and run away from the noise.

With Mocha and Lucy it was important that we “quiet” the area where the two would be during the fireworks. This included taking each for a long walk to work out any excess energy and then putting them in a room, usually the master bedroom, farthest from the fireworks. We turned on the TV or the I-Pod to help drown out the sounds. Each were given their favorite long lasting treats.

This strategy worked well with Lucy but Mocha not as much. We’re not sure why. But Mocha could have been more fearful of the firework noise.

Five years ago when Teddy, our black Lab, joined the family we just assumed he would have the same aversion to fireworks. The first time we were getting ready to watch the Forth of July firework display over Lake Michigan we took the same precautions we had taken with Mocha and Lucy.

Ed, my husband, took Teddy on a long walk along Lake Michigan’s shore. Several firecrackers went off as the two were strolling. Teddy just kept moving. He was more interested in the sites and smells then the firecracker sounds.

When the two returned home, we put Teddy in the master bedroom and turned on the TV. The Lab was given a Himalayan treat, his favorite at the time. When we left the room, Teddy didn’t seemed bothered or interested in where we were going. The pooch was more interested in the treat.

We stepped out on the balcony to take our seats. Before sitting down we closed the sliding glass door to block the fireworks’ noise but left the door slightly opened so we could hear Teddy if he started barking, crying, howling, or some combination of the three.

The firework display was terrific. The colors not only lit up the sky but reflected on the water below. We clapped and shouted our approval after each round. When I reach for my iced tea I was greeted with a dog nose. Teddy had pushed the sliding door open and was standing in between Ed and me.

Ed and I both looked at the pooch. He wasn’t bothered by the noise. He wasn’t even looking up at the sky. The petite Lab was more interested in the people mingling below our balcony. The only concerns we had that night was making sure Teddy didn’t jump off the balcony to join a group of kids throwing a Frisbee around.

Over the years, Teddy has reacted to any number of loud sounds in the same manner. From fire trucks’ sirens, cars’ backfiring, storms’ thunder to our home’s security system the reaction is the always the same. Nothing. Noise doesn’t bother him.

I wish I had his “cool” calmness. I jump at most of them.

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Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at spicerkarin@gmail.com.

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