Oct 25, 2022
The dark nights drawing in means only one thing – we are approaching the end of the year!
Whilst these last few months are an excitable time for Humans with the likes of Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali, Christmas and New Years coming up, this can be a particularly scary time for dogs.
These events are often met with fireworks which can cause anxiety and fear in most dogs.
Why are dogs scared of Fireworks?
Fireworks give off a series of loud, unpredictable bangs and bright flashes of light. Not knowing the location and frequency of these explosions will trigger a fight or flight response in dogs
As you will know dogs have a heightened sense of smell and incredible hearing. They can hear sounds up to 4x further away than us humans!
If a noise is just bearable to us, chances are it is very unpleasant for your dog. If your dog becomes scared and stressed, they can potentially put their own safety at risk.
What can I do to help?
If your dog has shown fear of fireworks before they will most likely have this anxiety again. We have put together our top tips on preparing your home to keep your dog safe during firework season.
Before the Fireworks:
- Walk your dog earlier in the day.
Try to tire your dog out well before the night draws in and the fireworks begin.
- Feed your dog earlier in the day and keep water bowl full.
An anxious dog will not want to eat so it is important to make sure they get their meals in before dusk. An anxious dog will pant more and become thirstier to ensure the water bowl is topped up.
- Ensure your garden is escape proof.
Your dogs fight or flight response may be triggered by their fear of fireworks. It is important to make sure they cannot escape your garden if they spook during this fright. Also block off any cat flaps.
- Make sure your dogs Microchip and ID tag is up to date
Over half of microchips have incorrect owner information on them meaning if your dog does go missing it will be harder for them to be returned to you. Microchipping is required by law as of April 2016
- Shut windows, doors and curtains.
Sound proof your home by ensuring all doors and windows are closed. Draw curtains and blinds to reduce the impact of firework flashes. If you do need to open the front door make sure your dog is secure away before doing so.
- Create a safe space
Have a safe, sheltered den prepared for your dog if they are scared. You can drape a blanket over a table or your dogs crate. Put blankets and their favourite toys inside. Do not lock your dog in the crate as this will make them more stressed. Don’t confine your dog to one room as they can hurt themselves trying to escape.
During the fireworks:
- Turn on the radio or TV
Having some calm background music or noise might distract away from the loud bangs.
- Act and behave as normal
Dogs pick up on human behaviour and will sense if you’re acting nervous. Remain calm happy and cheerful to help relax your pet.
- Reward calm behaviour with treats and playing
But remember to never use treats to tempt your dog out of hiding as this can make them more stressed should they become scared again.
- Distract your pet with a dog puzzle toy or a long-lasting treat toy
- Comfort your dog if they come to you.
Your dog may prefer to sit with you when they are frightened. Do not ignore them if they come to you for reassurance.
- Do not force dogs to face their fears
Never tell a dog off for being scared. Never take a dog to a fireworks display or tie them up outside as fireworks are being set off.
Always speak to a vet if you are concerned about your dog.
If your dog has a history of fearing fireworks your vet might suggest medication or remedies to help them cope with the stress.