Helping your dog overcome firework fears

Helping your dog overcome firework fears

Helping your dog overcome firework fears

The signs…

It’s that time of year again where the week(s) long bonfire night celebrations begin. While some dogs are fine with the fireworks, my Jack used to love sitting outside watching them. There are so many more where fireworks cause anxiety, stress and fear. I think we all know the signs our dogs show as soon as the first bang goes off. Pacing, panting, whining, trying to hide… It’s a long list. In this blog I am going to highlight a few ideas for helping your dog overcome firework fears and help to make the next few days more bearable for your pup. But first a bit of science…

The canine firework fear

For us humans the flashes, bangs and vibrant colours in the sky are associated with celebrations and fun. But for dogs, the flashes, burning smell and loud bangs are anything but that. The bangs of the fireworks can be painful for them with their hearing being so much more sensitive than ours. The flashes and and unfamiliar smells can be overwhelming for them. So it’s easy to understand how they are triggered by them, especially when the ones that can be bought by the general public are quite ridiculous now.

Create a pup den

In the weeks before the fireworks are due, prepare a safe room for your dog. If you have and internal room with no windows this is ideal. if you don’t have a room like this you can make a cosy corner for them away from windows and doors. Make the area a comfy and fun place for your dog with all their favourite toys and blankets. This will give your dog a place to go where they know it is safe and quiet with all their favourite things.

When the fireworks are due

On the days that you are expecting fireworks, it’s best to get your evening walk done before it gets dark. This means your dog can be back home in its safe place before the cracks and bangs start. Never force your dog outside during fireworks! If they have an accident inside, don’t add to their stress by telling them off! This also goes for telling them off for being scared, don’t add to the fear!

If they do go outside to do their business, make sure that your garden is secure as a sudden bang could trigger their fight or flight reactions.

Stay at home with your dog if you can, or see if someone they know and trust can sit with them.

Close all your windows, curtains and doors to help minimise the sights and sounds of the fireworks.

Every dog is individual, so their needs will be different. Let them choose what’s best for how they feel.

Try to act and behave as you normally would, your dog will pick up on any changes.

If your dog wants to hide, let them.

If they are seeking reassurance, give them the cuddles and time that they need, bonus for you with more pup cuddles. Research has shown that ignoring them doesn’t help.

If your dog doesn’t seem at all fazed, it’s a goof idea to keep them busy with toys and play so they don’t get anxious.

Put on some calming music, the buttons below are for some playlists that might help. You might also find radio stations are playing some tunes to help,

Building on your bond

By doing all we can to look after our dogs at times like this can really help to build on the bond we have with them, and the trust they have for us. Showing them that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that we are there for them can help them to conquer their fear. If not, they have the reassurance that they are safe with us

I hope this has given you some ideas for helping your dog overcome firework fears to make bonfire night and other nights with fireworks a much better experience for your pup.

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