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I volunteer with a few GSD and all breed rescues, mainly Noble Shepherd Rescue. I wrote this up for our volunteers and my rescue contacts, and wanted to post on the board as well.

Fireworks and Dogs Just Don’t Mix

July 4th is right around the corner so we wanted to remind everyone to make sure to keep their furry companions safe and secure. July 5th is the busiest day for animal control agencies across the United States because many dogs get loose, run away, etc… Sheer terror would be a good way to describe the way many dogs react to fireworks. Many dogs are also killed every year due to fireworks as well or rather due to irresponsible humans.

Some dogs get so stressed out that they can develop behavioral issues for days, even weeks after the festivities.

We also can not forget that a dogs’ sense of hearing is significantly stronger than ours. The loud noise from fireworks can hurt their ears as well as terrify them.

Signs that your dog is stressed:

- trembling
- restlessness
- destructiveness
- hiding
- pacing
- panting
- attention seeking
- shaking
- escape behavior
- loss of house training
- whining
- barking

Nicholas Dodman, director of the animal behavior clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine says, ``Typically, the very severe reaction occurs when they are alone. ``

`` If they are alone they already feel terrible. If, in the midst of their misery, comes their worst nightmare, firecrackers or a thunderstorm, and you're a dog of this persuasion, a shrinking violet, you can get so distraught you will try to escape. You're not running to something, you're running from something. ``

Dogs can break teeth, he said, trying to escape a crate.

`` Once they're out they may try to excavate their way out of the house,'' he said, `` by throwing themselves out of a window, tearing through a fly screen and running down the road in the town. Sometimes they're hit by a car, sometimes they're lost.''

Below are some tips we gather to share with you. Please keep your dogs indoors and safe.

<span style="color: #FF0000">* Make sure all pets always are wearing well-fitted collars and securely fastened ID tags. Microchips and tattoos are great ID techniques, too. Even a back-firing car or shot in the woods can be enough to incite a dog to run off, so avoid taking any chances.</span>

Never walk your dog while fireworks are being let off.
Keep your dog indoors; close the curtains and play music or turn on the television to drown out the noise.

Consider making a den with old blankets for your dog to hide away.
Ensure you are not enforcing your dogs nervous state by giving attention to its behavior…allow the dog to settle where it finds a secure place.

To further minimize distress; you can use a Dog Appeasing Pheromone. It is a synthetic version of a chemical produced by the mother shortly after she has given birth. The pheromone reassures newborn puppies and naturally calms them down. Scientists have discovered it also helps calm older dogs as well for a wide range of anxiety related behavior.

You can combine a DAP diffuser with a CD that you can use to gradually desensitize your dog to typical firework noises. This usually takes a few weeks to see a marked improvement; and is best carried out well in advance for optimum results.

A herbal remedy known as Scullcap & Valerian can also aid calming your dog; as can Bach’s Rescue Remedy.

If your dog is particularly prone to becoming very distressed; discuss sedatives with your vet; but do try the above first; as it is a drug free approach aimed at removing the root of the problem.
Nick Jones MCFBA
Dog Behavior Specialist and Trainer

<span style='font-size: 14pt'><span style="color: #FF0000">DO NOT:</span></span>

- Let your dog go outside when fireworks are sounding, even if he shows no signs of stress.

- Exercise or walk him when fireworks are likely.

- Punish your dog for being frightened.

- Leave him alone during the firework period.

- Fuss or try and reassure your dog when he is frightened, as this rewards the fear behavior and will encourage him to repeat it.

- Take your dog to a firework display.

Links to articles related to this subject:

http://www.dogadvice.co.uk/spca-warns-on-fireworks-danger-for-pets/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25267200/from/ET/

http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HolidayFireworks.html

http://www.dog-training-and-health.com/fireworks.html

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1657

Sources:
http://www.gdba.org.uk/index.php?id=2065
http://www.alphadogbehaviour.co.uk/11.html
http://lists.envirolink.org/pipermail/ar-news/Week-of-Mon-20040628/026639.html
http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/diseasesall/a/petsfireworks.htm

Thank you.
 

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Re: Fireworks & Dogs

Hey you didn't cover it for Canada our Fireworks are on July 1st....

We already got Jesse socialized to fireworks on the Canadian May long weekend, and turned it into a good thing by the end he just watched the pretty things that fly up in the air and go bang. Actually he is not afraid of anything sound wise we have him solicialized to loud planes, trains, air brakes on trucks, police and fire and ambulance sirens, thunderstorms, etc.
 

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Re: Fireworks & Dogs

Shadow was okay in the house on the May long weekend. My last shepherd X, Smoke, was terrified of them however. He used to tear the house apart looking for a place to hide. We eventually had to empty half of our bedroom closet and put blankets in there for him to hide. I used to feel so bad for him!
 

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Re: Fireworks & Dogs

Hey Alex, my boy Sam (aka "H") is a NSR grad


I've been lucky, he could care less about fireworks, which is a good thing as the whole street shuts down on the 4th for fireworks. (and they go on for the next few weeks afterwards) Crazy thing is, he actually looks like he's watching them.
 

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Re: Fireworks & Dogs

Not ALL dogs are afraid of fireworks. We take Riggs with us to the fireworks every year. We stand right up against the barrier that keeps people away from the set-off area - makes for the BEST pictures!

Riggs spends the whole time trying to get the people around us to play with his ball or stick.


But I have seen people there with dogs that were afraid. You have to make SURE your dog isn't bothered by them before you bring them along.

We live across the street from the field where they do the hunter safety training AND our neighbors have a range in their backyard (pistol, rifle - they were shooting clays last weekend) our dogs HAVE to be ok with loud bangs.
 

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Re: Fireworks & Dogs

Lots of good tips! No dog I've owned in the past was scared of fireworks but Chevy is. He barks and paces and tries to find a place to hide. Poor guy. Last night they were going off like crazy in my neighborhood so he hung out with me in the bedroom (on the bed) watching tv
The fireworks don't even phase Shya.
 

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Re: Fireworks & Dogs

I've had one dog that was seriously bothered by fireworks & thunder and one that isn't fond of either. However, most of my dogs have not been bothered at all.
The eldest is a case! As a puppy her attitude is "Whazzat? Where is it? Let me get it!!!!!" Both the eldest and youngest respond by coming to a cracking whip. (OK OK not the best idea but it worked... the dangling end of a lunge whip is a lot of fun for puppies - and dogs, too.)

The one that had issues with it, was a 12 week pound puppy I picked up in mid-July. In hindsight, I would guess that she freaked and bolted on or around the 4th. She did not like gun shot either.
 
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