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My Dog Is Afraid of Gunshots: What Should I Do?

5 minutes
Did you know that that sound of gunshots can cause discomfort in our dogs? I'll tell you how I discovered that with Noa and all the do's and don'ts in these cases.
My Dog Is Afraid of Gunshots: What Should I Do?
Written by Editorial Team
Last update: 15 February, 2024

Fear is one of the emotions that animals experience, and little time went by before I realized that one fear in particular afflicted my dog. I discovered that my dog is afraid of gunshots.

If you’ve noticed the same with your dog, keep reading. I’ll tell you how I identified this fear, what you can do to help your dog, and what you should avoid doing.

This is Noa, and she’s afraid of gunshots

From the day she arrived at our home, Noa has brightened everyone’s life, especially mine. Her faithful and loving companionship has taught me the immense love that can exist between animals and humans and that if you’re fortunate enough to have a dog, you’ll understand perfectly.

She arrived when she was just 2 and a half months old, and I still remember how her adventurous spirit immediately captivated me. I’ve learned so much from her: What she enjoys, what calms her, her favorite caresses, the food she hates, and now, I’ve also discovered what frightens her.

Today, she’s ten years old, and I’ve managed to witness how she has grown, as I’ve also done some growing myself by her side. I’ve discovered that, like me, as time goes by, she finds other ways to relate to the world. Each one is a learning experience for me about her, and, so I have noticed how a major fear has appeared.

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Let’s talk about fears in dogs

It’s amazing how we can communicate and interpret the body language of our faithful friends. We can detect those things that bother them and also those that awaken their senses and cause them to feel that they’re in the presence of imminent danger. And this is how I discovered that my dog is afraid of gunshots generated by hunting activity.

Gunshots are characterized by being intense and unexpected sounds that break the silence and put living beings on alert, just as fireworks do. And the latter not only scares them but also produces damage.

What disturbed me the most was Noa’s behavior when she heard gunshots. I remember feeling a lot of distress until I noticed the cause. I saw how she came desperately into the house, trying to hide with her tail between her legs and making small panting sounds.

She was defensive with anyone who approached her. I later confirmed it was because of the gunshots she heard outside.

What NOT to do if you’re dog is afraid of gunshots

In my desire to help, understand her, and give her what she needed, I immediately sat down to research what I should and shouldn’t do. So, if you find that your furry companion also has this type of fear, I’ll share with you what worked for me:

Never ignore their fear

When dogs show fear, there’s a very vulnerable part of them that’s exposed. That’s where they need us to provide them with protection and security.

By no means should you overlook what your dog is feeling. Helping them is your duty, even if you didn’t foresee it or if you need to adjust your time or conditions to make them feel safe.

Don’t leave them alone

For our dogs, we’re their world. Not accompanying them and not being by their side shouldn’t be an option. We need to guide and support them and be their safe place where we can shelter them from their fears at times like this.

Avoid wasting too much time

Exposure to a situation like this can affect dogs significantly. Allowing your companion to remain upset and not doing anything to mitigate the fear and calm them down is undoubtedly a form of mistreatment.

Remember that dogs don’t function the same way humans do. In a fearful situation, they won’t know what to do, so the faster you tackle it, the better when it comes to the welfare of your best friend.

What to do if your dog’s afraid of gunshots

I knew I had to calm her down, but for that, I first had to be completely calm myself. That done, I remembered some things I knew and other behaviors that came to me instinctively but proved effective. I’ll tell you about them below.

Find a safe place

The first thing Noa did was enter the house, so I made sure to lock the doors and windows so I could let her know that nothing and no one would come in to hurt her.

Minimize the sound

You may have heard of white noise, a random and constant signal that prevents the intrusion of other sounds. It was perfect to combine with music so Noa could no longer hear the gunshots outside.

Offer physical contact

Caresses are always an ally and a way to show our dogs our love, so without a doubt, they’re a method we should use to reassure them. Massage their favorite areas and make sure they’re very close to you.

I wanted to relax her, and that’s why I remember thinking, “My dog’s afraid and she needs to feel me nearby.”

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Furthermore, in my case, I consulted the dates of hunting season and hunting schedules in my area so I could schedule walk times with Noa and prevent her from being caught off guard during our outings.

Fortunately, there are cases like this that we can handle. However, this isn’t always the case, and you may need to consult a veterinarian, especially if you notice that your dog stops eating or avoids going out. If I did it with Noa, you can do it with your furry companion, too.

Mitigate their fears and bring peace back to their heart with your love and care!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.