Fireworks night is nearly upon us and whilst it can be a fun time of the year for us, for dogs it can be a very stressful and terrifying experience when exposed to the loud bangs. Symptoms can include whining, refusing to settle, a need for human attention and hiding as well as behaving in a destructive manner.
If you own a puppy, you can help them cope with this potential fear by making sure they are well socialised by allowing them to hear new sounds and have lots of different experiences, always in a positive way. However, some dogs will still develop a fear of fireworks so, to help them cope with this, it is important to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
If you think your dog will be frightened during a fireworks show, you can prepare before hand by taking your dog for a good walk in the day, as well as ensuring they are properly identified with a collar and possibly an ID microchip in case they get scared, break out and become lost.
When fireworks are going off, we recommend the following:
- Keep your dog inside. Never walk him or leave him outside.
- Keep windows shut and curtains drawn to mask sounds and flashes from fireworks.
- Turn up the volume on the television or radio to help mask the sounds of fireworks.
- Keep your dog distracted by playing with him or giving treats.
If your dog starts to show signs of distress, make sure you have provided them with a suitable safe place when he can hide and do not disturb him when he goes into this area. It is important to not comfort them as this may actually reinforce the behaviour. Instead act normally, as if there is nothing to be afraid of and reward them when they are calm and not looking afraid. Make sure you also never punish them in any way for being afraid.
We hope these tips will help you and your dog have a comfortable fireworks night. If you have any top tips for keeping your dog calm during this time, be sure to let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.