How To Help Dogs On Bonfire Night & Through The Fireworks Season
The fireworks season can be tough for dog owners and their pets. Some dogs can develop severe phobias and anxiety related to fireworks. There are laws to ensure people keep noise to a minimum and should finish fireworks by 11pm, but unfortunately dogs still have to endure them every year. Therefore you need to try and help your dog through the fireworks season as best you can by doing a few simple things and following some basic rules.
Some dogs are absolutely terrified by fireworks and others aren’t bothered at all. Dogs can develop phobias associated with certain sounds when they are young if they are not desensitised to common noises. Certain breeds also tend to be more sensitive to fireworks and have more problems coping. If your dog doesn’t like fireworks then here are some things you can do to keep them safe and make them feel more comfortable.
Close Windows & Put Music On
One of the best things you can do to help is close all the windows and doors in your house and turn some music on. This will help reduce the amount of fireworks they hear and hopefully muffle the noise. Music is also very calming for dogs and can help them relax. Closing your curtains can also prevent your dog from seeing the flashes created by fireworks which could also frighten them.
Keep Your Dog In A Secure Environment
Do not let your dog go outside in the garden and make sure they are secure in the house. The last thing you want them to do when they are terrified and afraid is escape and run away. They may chase after the sound of fireworks or harm themselves. Try and walk your dog during the day when there will be no fireworks to spook them or make their fear worse.
Give Them A Safe Place
It can sometimes help to give your dog a safe place they know they can go to for comfort. This could be a nice cosy bed or a blanket behind the sofa. Start introducing this place months before the fireworks season so that they can get used to it. Leave their favourite toys and never use this place for punishment.
Talk To Your Vet About Medicines
If your dog has serious anxiety or a severe phobia when it comes to fireworks you might want to visit the vet. They can talk to you about medicines and treatments that could help your dog on fireworks night. These treatments can also work well in partnership with behavioural therapy. You can also buy some natural calming products that are successful with some dogs. Here are some products for anxious dogs
Don’t Leave Them Alone
Do not leave your dog home alone when the fireworks are on. Dogs that are terrified can cause a lot of damage to themselves if left alone. When dogs are scared they will do almost anything to avoid what is frightening them. They can also develop anxious behaviours such as excessive scratching and chewing. They can even rip out their own claws when trying to escape. If your dog is scared of fireworks then you need to supervise them during this period.
Introduce A Relaxed Canine Companion
If you know another dog that isn’t bothered by fireworks and has a relaxed, laid back temperament then it might be beneficial to have them around. They could have a positive impact on your dog as they will see there is nothing to worry about.
Don’t React To The Fireworks
Don’t react to the fireworks yourself as your dog will notice something is up. Try and get your children to stay calm while the fireworks displays are on.
Keep Them Busy
Try and keep your dog busy by doing some obedience, playing with toys or giving them attention. However, if they do not want to do these things then don’t force them as you could make them worse.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone
This is a product you can use by plugging it in at home, it works by releasing a copy of the canine appeasing pheromone which is comforting for dogs and puppies. You can also get this in the form of a collar, view our Adaptil Collars here
You can try and desensitise puppies and some dogs to the sound of fireworks. It needs to be well in advance of the fireworks season and it doesn’t happen overnight. You can get cd’s which play the sound of fireworks and reward your dog when they are calm. Your timing needs to be impeccable and if you do this wrong you could make it worse. It’s best to speak to a dog behaviourist who can help desensitise your dog.
Make Sure They Can Be Identified
Get your pet microchipped and ensure they have an identification tag with all the required legal information. If your dog does manage to escape them they can easily be identified and returned back to you.
Know When The Biggest Displays Are
Have a look to see when the biggest firework displays are going to take place in your local area. That way you won’t be surprised by a huge fireworks display and can plan the nights when you need to supervise your dog and prepare the house.