Taking the fright out of Fireworks

dog firework scared

Firework season can be an unsettling time for our dogs (and other pets). Gone are the days when it was just bonfire night that we would take precautions with our four legged friend. Now we have to worry about the weeks leading up to and after the big event.

Every dog will react differently and this may be your first year with your dog so you have no idea how they will react. Maybe you already know how your dog reacts and have started to put things in place to help them.

How to help our dogs

Walking your dog during fireworks

ID tags are legal requirements when owning a dog but many of us forget to replace them if they fall off or get lost. Make sure you have an up to date and easy to read ID tag on your dog. This will help reunite you with your dog as quickly as possible. The unpredictability of when sudden noises may spook our dogs means we have to ensure if they run off there is an easy way for you to be contacted.

Having them chipped is helpful (and a legal requirement) but only a small portion of dog professionals have access to a scanner and the data base to be able to contact you. So don’t rely on your chip alone to reunite you both.

Plan your walks so that you can both enjoy them without sudden bangs going off. Make sure their main walks are before dark. That way you can see properly and there is less chance of people setting fireworks off.

Find out from your local council if there any displays planned and ask your neighbours if they have any events planned. This will help you plan your walks even better.

Don’t be afraid to keep your dog on the lead. Even dogs who are normally relaxed and unfazed by noises can get spooked and run off if they get a fright. Better to be safe than sorry as they say.

Making noises less scary

Helping dogs deal with loud noises

Dogs who normally find loud noises scary will undoubtedly find fireworks difficult to deal with. To help them get in touch with your vet at least a month before you think there will be fireworks in your area. This will give you time to discuss suitable medication that will help your dog have a more relaxed experience this year.

There are over the counter remedies available that may help your dog. Pet Remedy and Adaptil are popular choices. But for dogs who have a real fear of noises these may not be effective enough.

Dogs who are sensitive to sounds may show this by barking at noises, growling when they can hear something. Some may run away when they hear a noise, hide under things, they may shake and tremble. This is sometimes accompanied with excessive drooling, diarrhea, lack of appetite.

The above reactions to noise can also indicate your dog may be in pain. Recent studies have shown that up to 80% dogs who exhibit problem behaviours have underlying conditions that cause them to be in pain.

Having a conversation with your vet to find out if pain relief would be beneficial for your dog could make firework season less stressful.

Firework night preparation

Creating a safe space

Give your dog a choice of safe spaces – their crate, maybe a different room, up on the sofa with you or under a table. The choice should be theirs and you should respect that choice.

I know it can be hard if your dog chooses to be away from everyone but you asking them to come sit with you, be cuddled or be in a busier part of the house may be too overwhelming for them. So if your dog keeps finding quiet areas away from everyone just leave them be.

However if your dog finds comfort in being near you and being cuddled them keep doing it. Reassuring your dog will NOT make them more scared. Quite the opposite in fact so keep reassuring them.

Some dogs will enjoy getting their teeth stuck into long lasting chews or filled Kongs to help take their minds off the noises and smells coming from outside.

This is the perfect time to make sure you have one our tasty snack boxes at the ready. Ensuring you have healthy, tasty and long lasting chews nearby if there’s an unexpected explosion of noise.

Be aware that dogs who are distressed will show no interest in these. This is information for you as to how your dog is coping.

Don’t underestimate the power of play. Having a game with their toys reduces stress and helps them relax.

Check out these fantastic toys from Tug E Nuff we’re proud to be partners as their toys are super engaging for dogs, fun for us to use and they offer a wide range for every play style.

Hopefully these tips have given you a plan of action so this firework season goes as smoothly as possible for you and your dog.

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Becky Milne East Coast Dog Training with Border Terrier

Hi, I’m Becky

I’m an ethical and positive dog trainer who wants to help you create a fantastic relationship with your dog.

I offer fun and effective dog training that makes you WANT to train.