Dogs and fireworks
The loud noises and flashing lights of fireworks can be very frightening for dogs, but there are things you can do to minimise their stress levels. Here are our 10 tips on how to help your dog stay calm and safe during fireworks season.
10 tips to help your dog through fireworks season
1. Make sure your dog is microchipped
An up-to-date microchip and a collar and tag gives you the best chance of being reunited with your dog should they run off.
2. Escape-proof your house
Keep doors and windows shut and block off any dangerous or unsuitable areas your dog may get into.
3. Create a hiding place
Provide your dog with a safe place for them to hide. If they normally hide in a specific place, make sure they have access to this area and encourage them to use it with treats and toys. A table draped with a blanket makes an ideal place to hide. If your dog is accustomed to using a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside.
4. Do not shut them in
It is very important however not to shut your dog in a confined area as they could injure themselves trying to escape. Allow access to all safe areas of the house.
5. Draw the curtains
Cover windows and draw the curtains to block out any sudden bursts of light. Keeping lights on in some rooms and leaving other rooms in darkness will enable your pet to choose where they feel safe.
6. Put on some tunes
To reduce the impact of the sudden sound of fireworks, keep a radio or television on. Music with strong beats and bases is ideal when played at a level that your dog is happy with.
7. Avoid taking them out
Walk your dog while it's still light and if they need to be taken out again try to wait until after any fireworks have finished.
8. Act normal around your pets
Dogs are very perceptive and if they notice you’re behaving unusually (like following them around or being overly affectionate) they’ll sense something is up.
9. Let accidents go
If your dog becomes destructive or goes to the toilet in the house it is likely to be due to stress caused by the fireworks and getting angry will only aggravate the situation. The best thing to do is ignore this for the night, then seek advice from a behaviourist or trainer.
10. Buy them a treat
Wherever your dog decides to settle for the night, a long-lasting chew or toy can be a great distraction from the noise going on outside. There are also products on the market that can help pets to cope with stressful events.
If this doesn’t work
If your dog still suffers from anxiety during fireworks it's best to seek advice from a behaviourist or trainer who can help with desensitising your dog to noises and flashes. Do not wait until near the event to do this however as this process can take some time.