The RSPCA estimates that between 40-60% of dogs are frightened of fireworks, and the older a dog is the more likely they are to become fearful or more fearful of the loud bangs and unpredictable noises. So, more often than not dogs and fireworks don’t mix well. So, how is your dog coping with fireworks this year?
Dogs that are fearful of fireworks will react in different ways depending on their personality. My quiet lurchers will pace, pant and shiver. Dogs that tend to face fear with aggression – such as lurching and barking at other dogs – might bark and growl at the scary noises. Some dogs will seek out a quiet, dark place and hide, or they might try to dig their way to safety. No matter how they behave, the underlying cause is FEAR.
Dogs and Fireworks and Pain
If your dog is experiencing pain, for example from arthritis or a muscular strain, they are likely to be even more reactive to loud noises.
The cycle goes something like this; low level pain is present, a loud noise causes the dog to ‘jump’ and the soft tissue tightens, this causes pain to intensify and possibly even bring the pain into conscious awareness for the first time. The dog may now associate the noise with pain, causing anxiety and further pain. If there are fireworks going off over a series of nights, the anxiety of anticipated fireworks can also be painful.
So, if your dog has been even more reactive this year it could be a sign that they are experiencing some degree of pain. Dogs are extremely good at hiding pain most of the time, but the fear of fireworks could have pushed them over a threshold, allowing you to see an issue for the first time.
So how has your dog been coping this year? Have you noticed changes in their mood, activity, or engagement with others?
Because pain can be so hard to spot the Canine Massage Guild has produced a free assessment tool which you can download here. Using this tool will allow you to assess whether your dog is in pain and can be helpful to help you frame a discussion about with your vet.
Did you know that most chronic pain is caused by soft tissue, that is the muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments? This is the case even if your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis or other joint issues. So why not also discuss massage as a drug free pain management option for your dog. A consent form for massage therapy and some supporting information for your vet can be found as links at the bottom of this page