When it comes to dogs and fireworks, it is definitely not a case of New Jersey and you being perfect together as a long-ago Gov. Kean liked to say. This weekend’s fireworks at my home were the most yet in the four years I’ve lived there, and in the two years I’ve had my dog Finn, it was his worst reaction ever.
They started around 9 p.m., local stuff both from neighbors’ backyards as well as an official display. Because of the backyard ones the sounds went on for two hours. The poor dog had to be taken out one last time before bed and there was no choice but to walk him in the midst of it since there was no way to know when it would end.
For a mixed breed mutt who is part pit bull he certainly wasn’t showing a tough side. This little guy was trembling the entire time. When his leash was being taken off back inside you could feel his heart jackhammering.
Then it happened.
Stop reading if you’re easily grossed out.
Another aerial went off so close and so low to the house that he literally hit the floor in fear and the anxiety was too much. He began vomiting. Everywhere. Out of nothing but nervousness. I’d never seen a dog do this. Picture the canine version of the famous Exorcist scene.
Now I’ve had dogs before. They haven’t loved fireworks. But this reaction was beyond the pale. And I can’t blame anyone for wanting to celebrate and have fun. It was July 4th. It’s what Americans do. This is definitely my problem, not theirs.
But do I really want to fix it by putting the pooch on puppy Xanax at the holiday? The first step is figuring out the issue. I found an article on why dogs get so freaked out by fireworks on a Purina website. One interesting thing I learned is apparently if fireworks came in a predictable pattern like music does it would be less frightening for animals. Instead, they’ll come in bursts of 7, then 1, then nothing, then 4 or 5. So random that the unpredictability is part of what scares them, not just the loud noise itself.
Like I said, interesting, but not exactly something I can do anything about so it changes nothing. Will there be a vet visit? Self-help groups? Pressure vests? Canine counselors? Puppy Prozac? A 12 step program with meetings?
“My name is Finn, and it’s been four months since I vomited from fireworks and cowered in the laundry room.”
Or maybe I could just drive him to Canada every 4th of July.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.