We all know that these days noisy fireworks no longer seem to be confined to just 5th November, with other festivals and general ease of purchase contributing to anxious dogs across the land.
So it’s important to take extra special care of your four legged best friend during firework season making sure you can spot any signs of nervousness and know how to deal with them safely and effectively. While the traditional festivities – particularly those based around Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve – might be hugely entertaining for us, they can be extremely distressing for our poor pooches.
Apart from any obvious physical damage that can occur as a result of actual contact with fireworks, dogs can also be badly affected by the resultant loud noises and flashing lights. It’s not uncommon for behavioural problems to arise as a result of fear and stress, including barking, shaking, and even soiling of the home, as well as the serious danger of your dog actually running away – make sure your dog’s microchipped.
So here are a few tips to help you and your dog enjoy the forthcoming festivities:
• Has your dog previously struggled with fireworks? Then please visit your vet ASAP ensuring you’ve time to trial any prescribed medical treatments. Ask them about artificial pheromone plug-ins and sprays that can comfort your dog and help him/her cope with their fears.
• Make sure you walk your dog before the fireworks start – a well exercised and relieved dog is generally a much happier one.
• It’s important to settle your dog before any fireworks begin – provide a safe hiding place in familiar secure surroundings, like a den/crate it will help them cope with all the bangs and whizzes. Tightly close curtains to prevent flashes of light and turn up your TV/radio to drown out firework noises.
• Perhaps your dog responds well to certain music? If so why not make a compilation and play it at a reasonable level to drown out firework sounds.
• Never punish your dog for cowering or reacting to the fireworks as this will intensify his/her anxiety. Try to always aim to remain relaxed and calm, providing a good role model to your pet when it’s afraid.
• Keep your dog indoors and don’t leave your dog home alone in the house during fireworks – he/she may panic and this could result in your house being destroyed, and at worse, a serious injury.
• Finally never take your dog along to a firework display.