As fireworks season is almost upon us, many of us dread the reaction our dogs are going to have - turning in to a fearful, quivering wreck, hiding themselves away, and becoming hypervigilant as they are unable to predict when the next loud bang or whoosh is going to happen next. Sadly, fireworks night is no longer just one night of the year but can go on for weeks, causing prolonged periods of anxiety and stress for our pets.
SO why do dogs hate fireworks so much?
HEARING - DOG VERSUS HUMAN
It is well known that dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans
The dog's ear has 18 muscles compared to just 6 in the human ear.
Dogs can move, tilt and rotate their ears in ways that are impossible for humans
The shape and position of some dogs' ears allows them to hear much more clearly and acutely - humans ears are pretty much fixed!
While humans can detect sounds up to about 20kHz, dogs can hear much higher frequencies - up to about 50kHz - those high pitched firework whooshes will be louder, and be audible to dogs much sooner than to a human.
It is thought that dogs can hear sounds four times further away than humans. So, although we may not hear the noise of our neighbour's fireworks half a mile away, it is likely our dogs can.
Dogs can also differentiate sounds better than humans. This is why they can recognise the sound of your exact car before you are even in the driveway, or why they do not react to noises on the television in the same way as they would in real life.
Dogs can often appear to become more sensitive to noise as they age. While as puppies, nothing seems to worry them, year on year, they get more anxious when presented with loud and unexpected noise.
NOISE SENSITIVITY AND PAIN
It is common that as humans, our fears and phobias increase as we get older. I know as a teenager I was not scared of heights, but now even the down escalator in a department store can send me in to a panic!! A lot of this is due to life experience and fear of our own health, wellbeing and our fear of PAIN!! Dogs are emotional beings too and feel just the same as we do.
A study published in 2018 by animal scientists in Brazil and the University of Lincoln, looked at the possible correlation between noise sensitivity and pain (or the fear of pain) in dogs.
They looked at two groups of dogs who had both been referred due to noise sensitivity. One group had also been diagnosed with musculoskeletal pain, while the other control group showed no clinical signs of pain.
The interesting findings were that the dogs who had been diagnosed with pain, developed noise sensitivity at a later age (approximately four years later than the control group). The pain diagnosed dogs, also tended to generalise their fear of loud noises so that they either completely avoided the area where they had been exposed to the noise, or tried to completely avoid any new situation or environment as a result of a fear of pain.
The authors suggest that :
HOW CLINICAL CANINE MASSAGE CAN HELP
Clinical canine massage can help your dog who is stressed or suffering with chronic pain or exacerbated pain as a result of noise sensitivity by :
If you would like to discuss your dog's mobility issues to see if they may benefit from clinical canine massage, please get in touch : firstname.lastname@example.org.
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