Fireworks can be scary even to dogs who are usually laid back. Our guide will help get you through major events like Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve.
Preparing for Fireworks
Whilst it is impossible to anticipate when people will let fireworks off, it’s a good idea to take walks much earlier in the day before fireworks are likely to have started. We would advise not walking dogs at all where there is a risk fireworks may be set off whilst out. This is normally a week or two either side of bonfire night and on new years eve.
If you do go out, make sure your dog is kept on a lead. Dogs can be excellent escape artists at the best of times so play it safe and double lead (if you don’t already!)
Once fireworks have started, keep your dog indoors and close the curtains to hide the flashing lights. Make sure cat/dog flaps and windows are locked so that your dog cannot escape. Turn on the radio or TV to distract from the noise.
Take care that it’s not too loud that it could also become a source of stress – particularly if your dog is not used to it. Dogs are likely to drink more when they are worried, so make sure they have plenty of water available. If your dog does escape, contact us immediately so that we can help. We work with a few organisations and can spread the message to many people much sooner, helping to bring your dog home safely as quickly as possible.
TIP: White noise really helps to mask the sound of the fireworks.
Keeping your dog calm
As difficult as it is when your dog is stressed, try not to show that you are upset or worried by it as they look to your reactions for reassurance that everything is normal. Stay calm, act normally, ignore any stressed behaviour from your dog as much as possible and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. If they are pacing and whining, let them until they find a safe space, and then try not to disturb them.
It goes without saying that you should never shout at your pet. If you come home to find your dog has been destructive or messed in the house, do not get angry with them. Reprimanding them will not help and will also make your dog more stressed.
Products that may help
There are a few products on the market available to help reduce stress in dogs during fireworks or at other stressful times, what works for one dog doesn’t necessarily work for another. We have listed some of the most common below:
- Pheromone plug-ins
- Stress-reducing tablets
- Thunder shirts
- Mist spray
- Prescribed calming medications
If you know you are going to have a particular issue with firework season due to previous experience, medication and sound therapy can help. Speak to your vet, your admin or a qualified behaviourist if you are concerned and would like some further advice.