Why Do Dogs Bark at Fireworks?

Did you know more dogs run away from home on the Fourth of July than on any other day? The reason is clear to any pet owner: fireworks. 

Our furry friends don’t understand these loud, booming noises and often feel extremely threatened by them. With dogs, these overwhelming emotions can lead to excessive barking.

Different dogs will have different reactions to fireworks, and the dog’s age and temperament—as well as the proximity of the fireworks—will play huge roles in their comfort level. Let’s look at a few of the reasons your dog might feel they need to bark at the sound of fireworks.

They Make Your Dog Feel Trapped 

Loud, booming noises like fireworks can make your dog feel trapped. Because your dog can’t see where the noise is coming from, they can’t identify a visible threat to run from and therefore feel frozen in place. In a situation like this, your dog may feel that his/her only option is to try to scare away whatever’s making the sound by barking.  

They’re Threatening 

To your dog, any loud sound could mean immediate danger. From their perspective, it could mean the house is about to fall down around them! Therefore, a dog barking excessively at fireworks is likely feeling threatened and unsafe, and expressing those emotions in the only way they know.

They’re Loud and Unpredictable 

Even if your dog isn’t fearful for their life at the sound of fireworks, they might still be unsettled or even simply annoyed at the loud and unpredictable nature of the sound. If they want whatever’s making the sound to go away, your dog may bark excessively in an attempt to scare off the threat, or simply to express their frustration.

How Can I Help My Dog to Bark Less at Fireworks? 

Even though it’s easy to understand why your dog might bark a lot on days like the Fourth of July or New Year’s Day, it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to deal with. 

Luckily, there are a few helpful ways to curb your dog’s barking and make them feel a bit more comfortable during the next fireworks show.

Separate Them from the Noise 

Where you live will play a big role in how effectively you can separate your dog from the sound of fireworks on a day like the Fourth of July. For example, if you happen to live a street away from where the nearest fireworks show is held, you can’t separate your dog from the sound by much. 

In a case like this, you may want to take your dog to another location where they can have some peace and quiet, or find a room in the house where the fireworks aren’t as audible. The fainter the sound of the fireworks, the less your dog will feel the need to bark at them.  

Surround Them with Their Favorite Things 

Oftentimes, dogs are barking excessively at fireworks because they feel unsafe and anxious. You can help them to feel safer and less nervous by surrounding them with all of their favorite toys and treats. 

If your dog enjoys spending time in their crate, this is a great time to pack the crate full of cozy blankets, beloved toys, and tasty treats to help create those rushes of dopamine in your dog’s brain that allow them to calm down despite the noise.

Use a Bark Collar 

No-shock bark collars effectively curb excessive barking by emitting a warning beep when they sense long strings of barks followed by a small vibration if your dog doesn’t stop. The vibration doesn’t hurt your dog, but rather gently prompts them to quiet down. 

When you reward your dog with treats and affection as soon as they become quiet, they’ll learn that remaining quiet makes the vibrations stop, and earns them lots of tasty treats as well.