It's coming up to that time of year... Halloween, Bonfire Night and then New Years Eve. Dogs don't hear these noises very often and they can be extremely scary - remember a dogs hearing is much better than ours so help reduce your dogs anxiety during the firework season - think ahead of time!
What can I do to help my dog cope with fireworks?
There are many ways you can get set up to help keep your dog nice and calm during firework displays
Acclimatise your dog to the sounds far in advance of the weekend the fireworks will be going off all over the place. You can do this by using a specially designed CD to help them acclimatise to the sounds in a safe and reinforcing way. I would recommend the Canine Noise Phobia CD by Victoria Stilwell - click on the image below to go to her shop. I have used this CD, along with others in the series to help my anxious dog, Lola, and now she doesn't bat an eyelid on Bonfire Night!
HOWEVER - be careful! If your dog is already sound phobic, this could be a very stressful thing for them to do. In this case, I would advise speaking to a canine behaviourist or your vet to discuss ways of supporting your dog through this stressful time.
Make a safe den for your dog to hide and snuggle in whenever they want. This will help them feel a little safer. They may want to get under the bed or table but having their own space with a bed or blanket of their own will help them feel more comforted.
Use PET REMEDY to help de-stress and calm your dog. Pet Remedy is made of all natural ingredients, including valerian essential oil, vetiver, sage and basil. It can be used in different forms, such as sprays, wipes and plug-in diffusers. They're great for visits to the vets and other stressful situations, too! Click on the image to visit our shop.
Distract your dog from the noise by having your TV or radio on.
Give them lots of nice things to play with to keep them busy and distracted.
Be as normal as possible because if you're stressed, they will sense this. Reward their calm behaviour with lots of nice treats and attention.
Feed your dog before it goes dark and the fireworks are likely to start. If your dog is stressed, they're unlikely to eat.
Walk your dog earlier in the day to completely avoid being outside when a firework goes off - that's the last thing you want to happen!
Keep windows and doors shut to keep your house as sound proof as possible, as well as shutting the curtains so they can't see outside.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Please don't take your dog to a firework display - if you thing the fireworks are loud, they will be unbearably loud for your dog. Even if they don't bark or obviously indicate that they don't like fireworks, they are unlikely to be enjoying it.
Don't leave your dog outside during firework displays.
Don't try to make a scared dog 'face their fears', this will only make the problem worse.
Don't tell your dog off if he reacts to the fireworks by barking for example. Instead, try to comfort him, offer him some water and somewhere to hide. Turn up the TV to disguise the noise and be as calm as possible around him.