It’s almost getting to that time of the year where loud bangs, crisp nights and brightly lit skies take over. While it’s a beautiful spectacle for the Hoomans, it’s not such a great experience for dogs.
It’s a well-known fact that dogs get stressed and anxious because of the sound of fireworks and the spooky strangers that come to the door.
There are many signs of your dog being anxious, here are some to look out for:
• Hiding or attempting to hide or escape,
• The dog pacing around
• Circling or acting restless,
• Rolling over,
• Grooming excessively, panting,
• Yawning and licking lips excessively,
• Drooling or vocalising.
If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs then don’t worry, there are things you can do to help keep your dog calm and reduce the intensity of his fears.
Top 10 tips to keep your dog calm:
1. Noise phobic dogs should never be taken to firework displays in the hope they’ll get used to it. They don’t ever get used to it and it causes an immense amount of stress.
2. Try to limit the sound of fireworks by teaching your dog to wear earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones, such as Mutt Muffs. This is something that they will need to get used to, so try and get them using them as soon as you can.
3. Play competing noise from the TV/radio or using white noise might be helpful in some cases.
4. Close the doors and windows. Make sure all blinds, curtains and doors are shut during a firework event.
5. Don’t punish or shout at your dog during these times. It makes dogs more anxious/reactive and they may even react aggressively.
6. Create a safe place for your dog. This is could be a den with your dog’s blanket or cushion and some familiar toys. Feed them in this little hideaway and offer them treats while they’re in their safe place.
7. Don’t go straight to offering them medication but your vet may prescribe anxiolytic medication to aid treatment and minimise your dog’s suffering.
8. Try an Anxiety Wrap. While there is no scientific evidence to show that Anxiety Wraps work, wearing one won’t harm your dog if you have taught them to accept wearing it. Stay with them while they wear it to ensure they don’t overheat.
9. Don’t leave your dog alone during firework events. It helps some dogs if you hold them firmly and lean into them. But obviously, release them if they struggle.
10. Play desensitising CDs of firework sounds. Essentially this helps get your dog used to the sound of fireworks from a CD player at a volume which doesn’t provoke a full-blown fearful or panic reaction.
Most of all, make sure you dog is calm and happy in a warm and comforting space during Halloween and Bonfire Night.