Nov 08

Big Bang and ‘Fido’

I’m not really into explosive sounds that remind me of gunfire or bombs going off, so fireworks don’t do much for me. But this isn’t about me. This is about our canine friends. This past weekend, a nearby neighbour started setting off fireworks and little Kimba got a stricken look on her face. She’s not into loud noises, either, whether from fireworks or thunder. In fact, they terrify her. She was so scared that she followed me from room to room even while I was vacuuming, which is normally another sound that scares her.

I understand that people want to engage in festive activities and that fireworks are exciting and thrilling, but really, they are just a form of entertainment?nothing more. Whereas to wild animals and to our canine friends, they sound like the end of the world. Dogs have been known to run away, breaking through screen doors and even glass windows in the process. Some dogs end up running into the road and getting hit by cars, or they just go missing forever. Animal shelters report an increase in the number of lost animal companions after fireworks events.

I was very pleased to hear our local council discouraging peeps from buying fireworks. Of course, their main concerns are public safety and the fire hazard of fireworks.  I think the worst ones, from the point of view of dogs, are the ones that neighbours persist in setting off, because they’re SO close by. There’re only a few feet separating your dogs from that ear-splitting noise pollution. So it goes without saying that you should never, ever attempt to take a dog or any animal to a fireworks display?just the opposite: Try to shield them from the sound as best you can.

A close cousin to fireworks anxiety is thunderstorm phobia, and many of the same safety principles apply: Make sure Fido is wearing a collar or is micro-chipped just in case he/she should somehow get out and run off, and never leave him/her outside. Let him/her go outside to do his business before the start of the fireworks or the storm, if possible, so that he/she won’t have to go out during all the scary racket.

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