It’s that time of year again. The fireworks are out and it’s great fun for all the family… except the dog. No matter what you try (short of building a soundproof bunker…. but that’s a post for another day), your four-legged friend is going to hear those strange, loud bangs. Some dogs suffer worse than others, but I can’t say I’ve ever met a dog that liked fireworks.
Whilst you may not be able to avoid them, you can take some steps to make things as stress-free as possible for your four legged friend. Some are quick and easy, others require a bit more planning – but are well worth investing the time and effort!
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day. Those boots were made for walking, so get to it! Throw in a few games of tug or fetch. Whatever you can do to get your buddy as tired as possible before the evening’s events start. It’s hard to get stressed out when you’re fast asleep!
Keep your dog inside during the fireworks and, if you can, stay with them. Scary noises and flashes may be terrifying to your pooch – but it will be that much easier for them knowing you are there (and being able to sneak onto the sofa for a cheeky cuddle). Where possible, close the windows and curtains.
Provide a safe place inside where your dog can retreat to. When scared of sounds they don’t understand and can’t find the source of, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. If your dog is comfortable in a crate that’s a good option, especially if you can cover it with a blanket (this helps with the noise and any bright flashes, as well as making them feel safe).
Distract them with something fun. A Kong toy is always a good choice – just make sure you get the right size and fill it with something your little buddy loves.
Maysie’s Pet Care recommends: Kong Classic Dog Toy
This one may sound a bit new-agey for some – but stick with me! Sound therapy can work wonders with dogs. Gradually helping them get used to the sound of fireworks beforehand can be well worth the effort. Using audio recordings and gradually increasing the volume over time will get your pet used to the idea that loud bangs don’t have to signal the end of their little doggy world. Better yet, you don’t have to go out and hand over loads of cash for the right stuff; Dogs Trust have a few handy booklets and sound files you can download right here.
Dogs really respond to tactile sensations. Thunder shirts can work wonders during times of stress (such as fireworks night). The basic concept is that it’s a cuddle in jacket form, that provides instant therapy for many of the things your doggy is afraid of; storms, loud noises, fireworks, travel, strangers and separation. The elasticated material delivers sustained pressure to key points on the dog’s body to help keep them calm and happy – clever, huh?
Pro-Tip: Make sure you measure your dog and get the right size. Getting the wrong size will render this piece of kit pretty much useless.
Maysie’s Pet Care recommends: Thunder Shirt
Right, we’ve covered sound and touch, now it’s time for (you guessed it) smell. We’ve got our Spaniel buddy, Buzz, to thank for this little number – cheers pal! There are all manner of stress relieving scent diffusers/collars/etc on the market, but our doggie owners have reported a good deal of success with plug in scent diffusers. These slowly disperse an analogue of the natural canine appeasing pheromone, which helps to keep your dog calm and happy.
Maysie’s Pet Care recommends: Adaptil dog calming plug-in diffuser
Armed with your newfound knowledge, we hope you can help keep your doggy calm and happy during this year’s firework season. If you have any questions or would like to share your own tips – hit the comments section below; we’d love to hear from you!