Dogs & Fireworks
Bonfire night – awondrous night full of oohs and arghs as the never-ending display of lights andbangs whizzes off into the night, mixed with the simple pleasures of hot dogsand toffee apples – or a nightmare evening spentwith the TV turned up loud, trying to shield your dogs from the noise?
Not every dog reacts badly to fireworks but for those whodo, it’s a stressful and scary time.For the owners, it can be a night of hell, as some dogs will literally digtheir way through doors to escape the fear they are experiencing. In fact, it’s estimated that 45% of dogs arescared of fireworks.
Luckily, there are things you can do to relief the tensionfor your dog, and for yourself. Let’s takea look at some ideas that could help you and your dog get through bonfirenight.
Trying to help your dog get over his fear is a priority inthese situations, and the best way to achieve this is by using a therapy pack.This therapy works by exposing our dog to different experiences and noises overa period of time. Dogs respond better at an early age, but this therapy is alsobeneficial for older dogs.
The Dogs Trust offer recordings for free, which you candownload at https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets,along with accompanying booklets.
Professional animal behaviourist may also be able to offertraining advice, so it is worth speaking to an expert.
Calming your dogduring fireworks
Prevention is always better to dealing with the situation,but unfortunately it is not always possible. Here are a few tips you can followon the night to help calm your dog.
Make sure he has had a good long walk (whenthere have been no fireworks going off), so that is he tired, relaxed andhappy.
Muffle the sound as much as you can – this includes turning the TV up anotch or two, shutting all doors and windows, drawing the curtains, using doorstoppers at the bottom of doors.
Make sure you provide him with a safe area wherehe can’t cause himself or yourproperty any damage. Consider building a doggie safe den with cushions and hisfavourite toys.
Stay with your dog and distract him as much aspossible with play and cuddles.
Your vet may be able to recommend pheromonediffusers, which disperse calming chemicals that have been shown to soothedogs.
Medication may also be an option, but thisshould be used only if all else fails. Speak to you vet about what isavailable.
Some dogs may so nervous that they soil themselves. If thishappens, don’t scold them, but reassurethem, and quickly clear up the mess, being sure to use a disinfectant such asAqueos, to give yourself peace of mind that the area is left clean andsparkling.