Dogs and fireworks
Unlike a lot of humans, dogs tend not to enjoy fireworks. The loud noises and flashing lights of fireworks can be very frightening, but there are things you can do to minimise your dog's stress levels. Here are our top tips for managing dogs and fireworks.
10 ways to help your dog through fireworks season
1. Avoid letting your dog outdoors at times when fireworks are likely to go off
Take your dog for a nice long walk well before dark. For most of the year it’s against the law to set fireworks off after 11pm, but this curfew is extended to midnight on Bonfire Night.
2. Create a ‘safe place’ inside your home for your dog to hide from fireworks
A table draped with a blanket is a great retreat or, if your dog is used to being in a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside.
3. The sudden bang of fireworks can be masked by keeping a radio or TV on, which can reduce the impact noises may have on your pet
Classical music will help to calm dogs in general, and music with quite strong bass will be ideal for masking bangs when played at a volume that your dog is happy with.
4. Always draw the curtains or cover the windows to minimise the lights from the fireworks
It’s not only the sound of fireworks that can cause distress for dogs, it’s also the light and flashes across the sky.
5. Don’t confine your dog to one room as they may hurt themselves trying to get out, particularly if they become stressed
Dogs may also be most comfortable curled up in their usual spot with you rather than a designated ‘safe place’, so allow them access to all safe areas of the house.
6. It is vital to ensure that your dogs are microchipped and that their microchip details are up to date
In the worse-case scenario, any dog that does run away from home while fireworks are going off can be reunited with its owner much more easily if it's been microchipped. As of April 2016, microchipping your dog became a legal requirement.
7. If your dog can see that fireworks have no effect on you, this may help decrease their anxiety
Animals are highly perceptive and will notice if you’re behaving unusually. Following your dog around or being overly affectionate may cause them to feel nervous or confused. Reassure your pet by all means, but try to behave as normally as possible - the more you change your behaviour, the more anxious your animal may become.
8. Dogs can squeeze into surprisingly tight spots, so make your home is as escape-proof as possible
Make sure all doors and windows are closed firmly and that anyone coming in or out of the house is aware they need to be quick opening and closing doors, and to keep an eye on any dogs trying to make a run for it.
9. Provide dogs with a long-lasting chew to help keep them distracted
You can buy a Pedigree Jumbone from the shop here at Battersea for your dog to enjoy, and you can also help keep the dogs in our kennels calm by donating a chew to one of our dogs via our online shop to help keep them calm.
10. If your dog is still extremely stressed by fireworks after following our advice, you may want to consult your vet
A vet may be able to provide medication to help reduce your pet’s anxiety – however, any medicinal treatment should always be accompanied by a behaviour management plan.