Dogs and Fireworks

Helping Your Pets Cope When The Fireworks Start

Some dogs show only a small reaction to the bangs and whizzes that will light up our sky between now and New Year but others will be in a total state of panic, risking injury and causing damage to the home even if the owner is there. They may be trying to escape the house or dig a hole in the carpet, sofa or walls. A very distressing state for an owner to have to deal with.



The use of sound CD's for desensitisation is a great pro-active move to help your dog learn to relax. You can buy these online or even download whizzes and bangs from the internet.

Start with the sound at a level that your dog can cope with, so they are aware but still paying attention to you and whilst the sounds are playing, teach your dog to do a simple down stay and reward the dog whilst they are in position.

Gradually increase the volume of the noises so that your dog is still focusing on you. If they are focusing on you and not the noises then helping them stay calm will be so much easier. Don't rush turning up the volume, move at the pace that your dog sets.




Here are a few simple tips to help your dog cope when the racket starts:

• Make sure your dog has been exercised and fed before the bangs start.

• Keep your dog inside and keep the curtains or blinds closed so you can block out the flashes as much as possible.

• Have the TV or radio on to mask some of the noise.

• Don’t anticipate your dogs fear. If you are cooing over them and waiting for them to be scared then you will only make matters worse. This doesn't mean that you can't talk to them or touch them, just be calm and at ease about it.

• Play with your dog or do some little bits of training to keep their mind off of the noises.

• Make your dog a ‘den’ area with lots of blankets for him to dig into. If you have a cage, then set it up and cover it with a blanket but don’t shut the dog in. I know dogs that seek out some very unusual places to hide, one hides in the bath and another squeezes in behind the TV so just make sure the area is safe for your scared dog.

• Do not punish your dog for his fear, he can’t help it, but you should also avoid praising your dog for it as well. Remember our dogs do not understand what we are saying to them and will see any type of reassurance from us as reinforcement for their fear.

• There are some herbal medications and products that you can get for your dog to help them cope. Dorwest Herbs Scullcap and Valerian or Valarian compound are my first choice when it comes to nerves and fear but if your dog's reaction is extreme then speak to your vet about something stronger





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Deal with any behavioural issues as soon as possible, If in any doubt seek professional help.

We are always happy to answer and questions