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For the vast majority of the people around the world, December is to celebrate, it’s a month full of joy, lights and food. But what happens when people start using fireworks as a means of having fun? Fireworks have been used worldwide for many years for different festivities, one of the most famous being Christmas. But what consequences do fireworks have on other living beings? Although the sound of fireworks seems harmless to people, for most animals it is not, since they do not understand where this sound comes from and see it as a threat.
Dogs are domestic animals that live very close to people, which is why they are one of the animals that suffers the most, since they have highly developed hearing.
A dog’s response to loud sounds is natural, and this is because in natural environments, a loud sound usually means danger. In human-created environments such as cities, there are many loud sounds, to which dogs become familiar based on what they hear on a daily basis. Fireworks have a sound that is generally quite loud and, as it happens in some festivities, most dogs do not get used to this sound and feel it as a threat and can create a phobia to fireworks. Some of the consequences that occur in dogs are: physical and emotional, incidents and injuries created by fleeing, burns, eye or hearing injuries (Orozco et al 2015).
The physical and emotional are those that can be seen in the dog’s abnormal behavior such as freezing or paralysis, attempts to escape or hide, tremors, salivation, tachycardia, intense vocalizations, urination or defecation.
Incidents and injuries created by running away: dogs with a phobia of loud noises, fireworks cause them fear, anxiety and confusion and this results in uncontrolled behavior, some will want to go home, others no matter where they just hide, others remain still and do not walk, others if they are alone at home want to go out and do anything to do so no matter if they put themselves at risk. Many run away from their owners and put themselves at risk, suffer run overs, injuries or mistreatment by other people.
Burns, eye or hearing damage: Dogs near fireworks explosions can suffer burns or eye damage. The hearing of dogs is much more sensitive than that of humans, which is why it cannot withstand too loud sounds, such as those of fireworks at a short distance. Total hearing loss has been reported in some dogs that have been exposed close to the explosion of fireworks (Orozco et al 2015).
Pyrotechnics in many countries is legal but under many safety regulations since many accidents occur due to mishandling, however in most countries, gunpowder is still easily obtained. There are many artificial games without sound, which people can also enjoy without doing so much damage to other living beings
Recommendations for dogs that suffer from a phobia of fireworks
Before the festivities, prepare your dog. If you live in a place where the explosions are very close, take the dog to another place for the day so that it does not suffer.
If your house is far away, but you can hear the explosion, close windows and curtains, play relaxing music at a moderate volume, and use pleasant scents for the dog, and, If it doesn’t work, consult your vet for a calm or sedative.
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Orozco V, I. Saez. L, Zaldivar.J.E. 2015. Veterinary technical report on the effects of fireworks in animals. Association of abolitionist veterinarians of bullfighting and animal abuse.