Remember, remember the fifth of November… can be a scary time for your dogs. The loud bangs and bright flashes can be very frightening to them, with some pets showing nervous and anxious behaviour. If your dog is scared of fireworks, read on for some helpful tips.
Why is my dog scared of fireworks?
Not all dogs are affected by fireworks, and it’s true that some breeds are more dispositioned to being fearful than others. But with a heightened sense of hearing and smell, it’s not surprising that fireworks night, or any other big celebration that use fireworks, can cause stress in our pups. This often has a knock-on effect of owners being worried too, which our pets can also pick up on – feeding into their own anxiety.
How can I prepare my dog for fireworks?
Good preparation can really help both dogs and owners combat firework-related stress. Take some time ahead of the night, to ensure you are prepped and ready -
- Find out when your local displays are
Don’t be blindsided by the displays. Make sure you know when and where your local firework shows will be, to ensure you are at home and ready for them. This also allows you time to plan ahead and get any other preparations in place.
You can use positive reinforcement to desensitize your dog to loud noises, for example – playing some YouTube clips of fireworks, quietly to begin with and then gradually increasing the volume. If you have never done this before, seek the advice and help of a professional to ensure it is done correctly.
- Use the Calmer Canine device
Used ahead of time, the Calmer Canine device can provide long-lasting calming effects to your dog. The device uses PEMF technology to support the natural balance of the brain. Many dogs find their sessions with the device soothing – this positive association with the device will also help on the night itself.
- Make sure your house and garden are safe
It is best to keep your dog inside while fireworks are being let off, but you should still ensure your home, garden or outdoor space is fully secure. When scared, dog’s behaviour can change, and they can go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. Make sure they can’t get loose, and their environment is safe, so they don’t injure themselves.
- Stock up on long lasting chews
These can be really helpful in distracting your dog, so make sure you have a good supply of long-lasting chews, toys or even dog IQ games to take their focus off the fireworks.
How can I help my dog cope with firework night?
You have prepped accordingly, and now the night is here - use our top tips to help navigate Bonfire Night safely and successfully:
- Use the Calmer Canine to provide lasting calm
The Calmer Canine device uses PEMF technology to provide lasting calm to an anxious brain. Used ahead of the event, and on the night, it can help your dog cope with the unpredictability of the bangs and flashes of fireworks. As well as aiding with general anxiety, the Calmer Canine device can help dogs with noise-phobia, as it supports the release ‘feel good’ hormones.
- Create a safe space for your dog
Whether this is their crate, under a table, or on a bed – have a space that your dog can access easily where they feel safe. It often helps to cover an area with blankets, to help block out some noise and light. It is important they are not locked in, as this can increase their anxiety.
- Use noise distraction
Having the radio or TV on can help to mask some of the loud noises associated with fireworks. One of the difficult things to manage is the unpredictability of when the fireworks will go off, so having a constant source of steady noise in the house can help to reduce the shock of a sudden sound.
- Walk your dog earlier, while it is still daylight
To avoid being out when fireworks may be being lit, make sure you give your dog a good walk while it is still light. Ensure they are kept on the lead to reduce the risk of them running away. It’s a good idea to make sure their microchip information is up to date, in the unfortunate event that they should get away from you.
- Feed your dog before the fireworks start
Although you don’t want to disrupt their normal routine too much, giving your dog their evening meal before the festivities begin can ensure they eat, as they may be too anxious to eat once the fireworks start. Make sure they have access to fresh water too -as anxiety can cause increased panting, and thirst.
- Be a calm leader
Your dog will pick up on your behaviour too – stay calm throughout the evening. It’s a natural urge to want to comfort your dog when scared, but try not to over fuss them. Giving lots of attention and cuddles when they are anxious can have the opposite effect to what you actually want- it can reinforce that there is something wrong and add to their anxiety.
Ask for help if you need to
If you feel like you have tried everything and nothing is working, do contact your vet for more specialist advice.