Fireworks - Tips to help your dog cope

Are you the lucky dog owner whose dog seems oblivious to fireworks?

Or does your poor pup start shaking and drooling with fear, perhaps looking for the darkest and safest corner to hide?

Do you notice a change in behaviour even before the fireworks start?

If you are the latter, it’s every dog owner’s ’worst nightmare… so here’s how to prepare your dog for the trauma of Halloween/Eid/New Year’s Eve etc.

At least those we know are coming!!

 

  • De sensitizing is a method that may help.

  • Download an app of the fireworks so that you can play them in the background slowly increasing the volume as you watch very carefully for any reaction from your fur baby. Using high value food rewards, reinforce any calm behaviours at that frequency. If stress occurs, turn down the volume and reward with high value treats at the comfortable level, very slowly increasing volume and rewarding all the time. When you are sure that pup is comfortable and more interested in the reward, than he is in the loud bangs, up the decibels a tiny bit more until you see there is little or hopefully no reactivity. This needs to be done over a period before the actual problem occurs. And whilst this does not compare to the reality of loud obnoxious noises in the sky, it will help to pair scary loud bangs with good things happening and hopefully you will be able to manage your dog’s stress around fireworks, in a better way.

 

  • Make sure you always have a dark, safe space for your dog to hide if necessary

 

  • Play soothing music at volume

 

  • Have a calming device that can plug in to reduce your dog’s stress and maybe give calming supplements in the days leading up to fireworks.

 

  • Close all windows, blinds and curtains to remove any visual stimulus

 

  • Do not leave your dog alone as your presence will help even though it may seem not to.

 

  • Make sure your dog has had his food intake, water and exercise before the evening begins, as he may not want to go out once the noise starts.

 

  • Consult with your vet for any medication or suggestions regarding calming techniques such as Thunder vests and supplements.

 

  • Above all – stay calm and try not to give your dog any of your anxieties which he will definitely pick up on