Fireworks are let off left, right and centre with no care for our pets.
It used to be just one night a year, but has now become an event
that goes on until the new year!
HELPING YOUR DOG COPE DURING FIREWORKS
You know your dog is scared of fireworks...so what can you do to help?
1. Build a den – sensitive dogs may enjoy the calm feeling of being able to go somewhere small and dark. Cover a table or crate with blankets, leaving only a small entrance hole so they can go underneath or inside. Put this behind the furniture or under the stairs, or somewhere where your dog would naturally go when afraid. Teach them to use it in advance by encouraging them to go there to rest and have food and chewable toys available in there such as kongs, bones, antlers, treat-balls and long-lasting treats. Extended chewing will help calm dogs and stimulation will distract them.
2. Pheromone support - plug in an ADAPTIL® Calm Home Diffuser which will diffuse a comforting pheromone into the room to promote a feeling of safety that your dog will really appreciate or a Pet Remedy Diffuser, clinically proven, using the special Pet Remedy blend of essential oils, which works alongside these natural relaxation pathways to help calm the nerves of anxious or stressed pets. We have both diffuser's and both refills for you to pick up in-store.
3. Keep them away from the ‘bang’: Keep your dog inside when it goes dark. Try to walk them earlier in the day while it is still light to tire them out before the fireworks begin. Desensitising your pet to loud noises is a good option if you have time to invest and can do it in advance of fireworks
4. Close all curtains, windows and doors to block out flashes from fireworks.
Turn on the radio/TV loud enough to mask the noise.
Create a ‘happy’ atmosphere by being relaxed, playing games, offering treats and avoiding getting cross with your dog.
5. Be supportive – if your dog gets worried or becomes anxious by a bang and comes to you for support, offer genuine affection without being too sympathetic. Keep the mood light and be fun and light-hearted, continue with normal activities and keep your voice in a typical tone rather than showing too much concern that may communicate that you are worried too.
As soon as your dog has calmed a little, try to distract them into an easy game with a toy or into using their nose to find a treat.
6. Ensure they are microchipped and wearing a tag - in case they escape from the house or run off on a walk. In the unfortunate event that this should happen, he or she will run blindly away without regards to where they are going. When they eventually calm down, they will probably not know where they are or how to return. A microchip gives you the greatest chance that you and your pet will be reunited.
7. Stay around - try not to leave your dog home alone this will only increase their feeling of unease.
If you have to leave them during the fireworks, make sure your pet will be safe.
8. Take your dog to the toilet before locking it up, or if you have a cat, remember to put cat litter in the room.
9. Lock your pet in the hideout/safe room or crate that you have prepared, this will minimise the chance of your pet injuring itself or escaping if it becomes distressed, and make sure there is plenty of water and some food in the room/crate.
Beware: If you are leaving your pet unattended in a room and it becomes anxious, it may behave erratically so ensure there are no dangerous items that the pet could chew on or knock over. Cords and cabling and any breakables should be removed from the room.
Ensure the room is secure – pets can become very determined to escape when frightened.
Try to return home as quickly as possible to check on your pet and take it out to the toilet after the noises have subsided, keeping it on a leash when you do so, just in case it's still upset or becomes spooked.
Do not punish your pet for any damage/bad behaviour on your return. Being fearful is an emotional and instinctual response which an animal cannot control.
If your dog’s fear of fireworks is worsening they will need a long-term behaviour modification plan. This should be carried out with the advice and support of a qualified animal behaviourist.