Taking care of your dogs during fireworks season
When the morning walks start to become darker and the coats are needed for both you and your dog it can only mean one thing, Autumn is here! Hot chocolates, falling leaves and toffee apples, all great and enjoyable parts of the season, however, another seasonal trait is fireworks.
Any pet owner will know this can be a distressing time for our beloved furry friends. Although we’re able to marvel in wonder over these spectacles our furry best friends can instead have a very nervous and frightening time. With all the bangs and bright lights across the country, there’s no wonder it’s reported that around 40% of our pets are scared of fireworks. As it’s coming into firework season we thought we’d help you prepare to keep your dogs as calm and stress-free as possible over this period.
How to prepare for bonfire night and the run-up of the season
In the weeks leading up to firework season, it’s a good idea to help your dog become accustomed to loud noises. Similarly to how horses become used to traffic on the roads, we can help dogs become used to the loud sounds of fireworks by working up their tolerance in the upcoming weeks. It’s as simple as finding loud music or sounds online or CD’s, this needs to be done in controlled situations as if your dog doesn’t take to this conditioning then it can make them more stressed than necessary and cause anxiety.
Check your dog's chip
Dogs can react badly to fireworks due to stress and anxiety. This can result in dogs running into unfamiliar places in order to “escape” the fireworks, many times this can be unknown to the owners as they are distracted by the same fireworks that the dog is running away from. When these displays are finished. This is why it is essential to make sure that your dog is chipped or collared with the correct information. When dogs get new owners the information isn’t always relayed onto the chip and therefore if a dog does runaway due to the loud sounds and stress they could be returned to the wrong person.
There are some quick and simple actions you can put in place before and during the firework displays. Here are our tips:
Before the Fireworks begin
Make sure your dog gets ample exercise on the day of the fireworks. Taking them for a walk before the fireworks commence will help them tire before the displays begin and also allows them to relieve themselves. It’s also key to escape-proof the garden in case they need to venture outside for the toilet.
Feed your dog. It’s important to give your dog plenty of time to eat before the fireworks as when they’re going off they may be too anxious or stressed to do so.
Make a safe place. When dogs get nervous or anxious they tend to go for small secure spaces. If your dog has a favoured place in the house make sure they have access to the spot if not make sure to create a space that they will feel comfortable in.
It’s important to make sure that your dog's water bowl is filled up as they can pant when anxious making them become very thirsty.
During the show
Having the TV or radio on can work as a good distraction for your dog whilst the fireworks are going off.
Dogs are good at picking up on behaviours. It’s important to act normal around your dogs when the fireworks are going off. Staying cheerful and happy will also keep your dog's mood positive
If your dog is being calm whilst fireworks are going off make sure to reward them with treats or attention by playing with them.
If your dog does become anxious then it’s important to let them access their safe area. It’s also key that if they require attention that you give it. If you shoo them away this can increase their stress and anxiety resulting in more panic for your dog.
If they have treated it’s important to leave them be. Trying to bring them back out with treats will only cause more stress
It goes without saying that owners should never take dogs to fireworks displays. Even if owners feel confident in their dogs that they'll be okay it can become even more traumatising when in a foreign environment on top of these loud sights and sounds.
By Raised By Humans