Keeping your dog safe and happy during fireworks
A fear of fireworks in dogs, or of other loud noises, is quite common especially around bonfire night and new year when they’re very loud and unpredictable!
While we know fireworks are nothing to worry about, it can be hard to convince our dogs that they are just pretty things to look at. Their effects can be devastating for some dogs. If not treated promptly, mild worry can escalate into a serious phobia of loud noises, and, in the worst cases, anything your dog has come to associate with fireworks, such as the approach of dusk.
If your dog is scared of fireworks, there’s no need for you to cancel your firework plans, though – just follow a few tips that will help your Fireworks Night, New Year’s Eve or birthday celebration go smoothly.
- Acclimatise your dog to firework noises
If your dog is scared of loud noises, ask your vet if they can recommend a pet behaviourist. Training and acclimatisation, especially when young, can teach dogs that bangs and rumbles are nothing to worry about. You can also buy CDs designed to get your dog used to loud noises or you can try to create the bangs yourself
- Keep your dog in after nightfall
Walk your dog during daylight hours and keep them inside after nightfall. Even if you’re not having a fireworks party yourself, your neighbours might be, which could be a bit of a surprise to your dog.
Panicking animals can easily run away and get lost or injured, so it’s also a good idea to make sure they’re microchipped, just in case.
- Speak to your vet
If your dog is scared of fireworks and their behaviour doesn’t change, let your vet know that they’re still showing signs of anxiety around loud noise.
- Be calm and reassuring
Your dog takes their cues from you, their most trusted friend. Stay relaxed and calm and do not make more of a fuss of your dog than normal, even if they act distressed. If your dog is scared of fireworks, try to reassure them that everything is fine; carry on as normal and they will soon start to follow your lead.
- Muffle sounds
If your dog’s staying in with you, keep your curtains drawn and windows closed to quieten fireworks outside. Play music or turn on the TV to provide a constant, identifiable noise to mask infrequent, random bangs.
- Provide canine company
A problem shared is a problem halved. If your friends have dogs with whom your dog gets along, especially if they aren’t fazed by loud noises, ask them to visit.
- Create a safe, cozy place for your dog
Do not lock your dog in the crate as this can be even more stressful. If you let your dog cuddle up with you on the sofa, this could be an ideal solution for a peaceful night in. Alternatively, create a cozy corner with lots of blankets and chews. Don’t forget that chewing relives stress and anxiety, and best to opt for long-lasting chews, which you can check out on our Long-lasting chew page.
- Draw the curtains
if your dog doesn’t like the visual effects of fireworks, make sure you have the curtains drawn.
It’s never a good idea to take your dog to a firework display, even if you think they are happy around fireworks. It’s one thing for a dog to tolerate fireworks in the safety of their home environment but being outside with them all around is another thing entirely.
Remember that a frightened dog can show signs of aggression. Never tell them off or punish them if they’re frightened or anxious as this will only make things worse. They’re best left alone so don’t attempt to force anything on them and explain to children why they need to be given space.