Does the firework season fill you with dread?
So many dogs (and some people) really dislike fireworks, it's hard to explain to a dog why a usually quiet and peaceful night sky is suddenly noisy, bright and very scary. Whereas there are some dogs who will happily sit and watch the fireworks and seem to enjoy them. I remember when I was child hiding inside my Mum's coat, hands over my ears because I hated the bangs but loved watching the sparkles! It may seem that Bonfire Night, Eid and New Year's Eve are a long time away, but NOW is the time to start helping your dog prepare!
HOW TO PREPARE
- Start getting them used to odd sounds NOW (start straight away with puppies, even if they aren't scared yet). You can use normal household sounds (washing up clinking, dropping spoons etc) download an app, buy a puppy sounds CD or find youtube clips with firework sounds . For puppies who aren't scared yet play them VERY quietly (so you can hardly hear them) when your puppy is playing, sleeping or eating. If your dog is scared already, play the VERY quiet sound for a couple of seconds, as soon as the sound plays rain amazing treats around your dog and stop as soon as the sound goes away.
- If your dog is suddenly sound sensitive it's worth having a health check to look into the reasons why
- Speak to your vet about calming products that may help promote a feeling of calm for your dog. It's best to start using them a week or two BEFORE firework season.
- Research anxiety wraps/thunderjackets and experiment BEFORE firework season to see if it helps your dog
- Make sure your dog is microchipped and your information is up to date so your dog can be returned to you if they are spooked by fireworks and run off or escape from the garden.
- Prepare a safe 'den' for your dog to hide in (crate with blankets over) and let them get used to it
ON THE NIGHT
- Walk your dog in daylight before fireworks are likely to be let off
- Keep your dog ON-LEAD for firework season, being generally more anxious they are likely to be easily spooked by any loud noises, even in daylight.
- Close the curtains to black out any flashing lights from outside
- Play some music or have the TV on to provide background noise to help muffle the sounds
- You can search for 'RelaxMyDog' on YouTube or' IcalmDog' to find playlists designed to help
- Provide lots of de-stressing activities (chewing, licki mats, sniffing games) not just in the evening but daytime too to help relieve stress
- Dogs are likely to drink more when they are worried, so fill their water bowl up to the brim
- Always keep your dog (and any ohter pets) indoors when fireworks are being let off
- It’s never a good idea to take your dog to a fireworks display
- Make sure they aren't home alone, having family nearby will provide reassurance
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- Give lots of cuddles, if your dog wants them. A cuddle won't do any harm
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