Not all dogs are scared of fireworks but if they have previously shown signs of fear or if you aren’t 100% sure, it is better to be prepared!
Over the holidays many celebrations involve fireworks. Unfortunately, the loud firework displays can cause much anxiety with our pets who can react with instinct to try and escape the noise.
Dogs in particular are partial to trying to run away, they are resourceful, and where a fence would normally keep your dog contained, he may feel compelled to dig right under it! Fear is often displayed by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. Trying to help your dog cope with their phobia is important as it usually becomes progressively worse as they age.
Here are some tips to help you and your pet have a safe and calm holiday season.
- Exercise your dog prior to when the fireworks are due to start
- Avoid fussing over your pet and feeding his anxiety. Let your dog spend time with you and be calm in his presence. You can engage him in normal play if he is calm.
- Create a comfortable hiding place your dog can feel safe, and seek refuge. Your dog chooses a space such as this because the sound of the fireworks is muffled. You can place treats in the area to encourage your dog to go there.
- Play some soft music or the TV to help mask the fireworks noise
- Dogs who panic can choke themselves on a collar or lead, so never tether your dog during these times and never use a choke chain to restrain your dog.
- Direct supervision is important to help prevent injury or escape. If you cannot supervise your dog on the night consider making alternative arrangements so your dog will be supervised by a responsible person or consider boarding your dog so they will be safe.
- It is important not to punish your dog for being anxious, as this will just create more fear and anxiety because fireworks will then be associated with both fear and punishment.
- It is equally important not to cuddle too much, you may think it is comforting, but it is not ideal as it might possibly teach your dog that anxious behaviour is appropriate.
There are several therapies available for management of stress and anxiety for dogs, chat with your local Just For Pets store for expert tips and advice. And don’t forget to ensure your pet has a collar, id tag and the microchip details are up to date.