Dogs and fireworks

Dogs and Fireworks

It is naturally for dogs to be scared of loud noises and unfamiliar situations. Fireworks are one of the noises that are very frightening for dogs and we need to make sure to protect our dogs during fireworks.

During Fireworks, many dogs will try to escape. Remember, escaping from loud noise and flashing light is natural defence mechanism of dogs to protect them selves. This is why lots of dogs get lost during Fireworks.

Dogs may not find Thunder scary but will react very scared and anxious during Fireworks. This is because before the storms, there are a lot of changes like winds, change in barometric pressure and dogs anticipate them. The Fireworks on the other hand come without any warning.

There few Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to helping dogs be calm during Fireworks.

Do’s

Keep your dog indoors. If your dog is crate trained, allow him/her to stay in the crate during the Fireworks. Close all windows and curtains. Most dogs will try to find a secure place during these loud noises, so if your dog hides under the sofa, let him stay there until he feels comfortable enough to come out. Do not forget to close the cat or dog flap at the door.

Be calm.  Dogs do not understand our words, but they do read our body language. Try to be calm and positive and initiate a play with your dog’s favourite toy. You can also offer your dog a chewing treat that will keep him busy.

Take your dog for a walk before the Fireworks starts. If you know the time when Fireworks will start, make sure you get your dog home before that. Always have his collar and ID tags on your dog.  Do not leave your dog in the garden in hope it is escape proof. In situations where dogs are scared, they are known to be good escape artists.

Desensitise your dog to the noise.  This is a long process and it requires patience and persistence. Dogs between 6 weeks to 3 months when exposed to different situations, usually are better in handling them when older. This is a great time to expose your dog to many different situations. With older dogs, this will be a long process, not a quick fix. Start by playing Fireworks sounds from a video on a low sound and gradually increase the sound in a course of few weeks. During this time, play with your dog or give him his meal. Be positive and reassuring. This way your dog will associate the sound of the fireworks with something positive.

Some dogs however may become even more anxious with this exercise. In this case it is important to seek help from a Dog Behaviourist to help you with the training and conditioning.

Thundersirt is a great way to make your pet feel secure. The Thundershirt size should be close-fitted to achieve this.

Don’ts

Do not leave your dog alone during this time. If you have to leave, make sure he is with a sitter or someone your dog knows.

Do not tell him/her off when he/she is scared and is seeking reassurance from you.  This will make your dog even more anxious.

And most importantly do not take your dog to the Fireworks, or leave him/her outside. For us it’s great fun, but for dogs this is the worst experience they can go through.