Whether you’ve got a Golden Retriever, a Beagle or any other breed of dog, firework season can be a stressful time. Loud noises and flashing lights can be distressing, so we’re here to offer you some top tips and tricks which can help your four-legged friend get through the 5th November.
Even though this year we are under lockdown and the big firework displays may not be happening, you can be sure that fireworks will still be going ahead in gardens around the country, and in fact have already started. To dogs, the loud bangs and flashing lights can be very stressful and we need to do everything we can to minimise the impact on our best furry friends.
Even when looking at the PetsPyjamas Pet Inspectors, Rufus and Kiki, both have very different reactions to fireworks. Whilst Rufus who is 13 has become used to fireworks over the years, Kiki who is just one and a half has only ever experienced fireworks once and still barks and gets upset when she hears the loud bangs.
Whilst we do everything we can to reassure her and give her more attention to get her prepared for fireworks here, there are a few more tips we can offer you to help your dog cope with all the noise and lights!
1, Keep your dog inside on Firework Night.
Make sure you take your dog for a nice long walk well before the evening to get them nice and tired. This way they are more likely to drop off to sleep early. If your dog is especially afraid, you could always give them their last meal of the day early and start this process a few days earlier to get them used to the idea. You could always take your dog out for the final time after the fireworks have finished if needed.
2, Mask the sound of the bangs with the TV, radio or a doggie podcast.
To block out the loud bangs and flashing lights it’s a great idea to have the TV on. Both Rufus and Kiki like to watch Strictly whilst we are out and they also enjoy the soporific effect of a doggie podcast. Check out My Dogs favourite podcast on Spotify which features the soothing tones of Jessica Raine from Call the Midwife and Ralph Inerson from the Office. Jessica praises the dogs for their loyalty and vigilance and says “this is your chance for some well earned me time”. Classic FM also broadcast music selected to calm the nerves of pets.
3, Don’t restrict your dog to one room.
Leave doors open downstairs if possible so that they can move between their safe places – chances are the bangs may occur at the front or the back of the house at any time and if they are confined to one space they may get distressed and anxious to escape.
4, Create lovely safe spaces for your dog to hide.
Rufus sometimes hides under the sofa, but you could create a safe space by covering a table with a blanket for them to hide under. If your dogs like a crate, don’t lock them in but create a nice space with a comfy blanket. If they are happier in their beds, make sure they have blankets in the basket as well as their favourite toys – especially those annoying squeaky ones which might drown out the noise. Make sure your dog has plenty of options!
5, Draw the curtains, or close the blinds so they can’t see the lights from the fireworks.
The flashes of light from the fireworks can cause as much distress as the fireworks themselves. Leave the lights and close your curtains if possible to shut out the flashing lights in the sky.
6, Give your dog a long lasting chew to keep them distracted.
Treat your dogs to a chew to keep them occupied or give them a Kong toy with a treat to keep them busy.
7, Make sure your home and garden are escape proof.
Even if you are at home during the firework period it’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t escape through the french doors or the front door – especially if you are ordering a take away or have someone from your bubble calling! Make sure your dog is well away from the door as young dogs can be very quick and agile, especially if they smell food! Also make sure there are no escape routes in your garden too.
8, Try not to change your behaviour.
Dogs can get agitated if they see you acting differently so make sure they see that fireworks have no effect on you. Following your dog around or being over protective may confuse them. Instead engage with them by throwing a ball or playing with their favourite toy.
9, Make sure your dog is microchipped.
Should the worst happen and your dog does somehow escape from home whilst the fireworks are going on, you can be reunited with your dog much more easily if it is microchipped. And in fact it is now a legal requirement since April 2016.
10, If your dog is exceptionally stressed you might need to consult your Vet.
Should your dog be really disturbed by the noises and bangs from the fireworks you may want to consult your vet who could provide medication.
However, if you follow the above tips the chances are you will minimise the stresses they feel and because this year you are much more likely to be at home with them rather than out at a firework display they should have a much happier time!
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