Dogs and Fireworks montageFrom Halloween to Bonfire Night weekends is the peak season for fireworks and all sorts of loud noises. Both can leave humans and pets scared.

We’ve all been to firework displays and seen the young child frightened by repeated bangs and parents attempting to reassure.

Some never learn to get over that fear and the same is true of dogs and fireworks.

Last Minutes Tips for Dogs and Fireworks

Check out the advice from Battersea Dogs Home and the Kennel Club. They agree that the following tips for dogs and fireworks work:

  1. Go for your walk before dusk. While it’s illegal to set off fireworks after midnight, it’s not strongly policed so a 1am walk may not be a good option.
  2. Don’t leave your friend outside. It’s possible to escape from all gardens when you’re afraid. Similarly make sure all doors, windows and cat flaps are firmly secured. All dogs have legally needed to be microchipped since April 2016 so reuniting pets with owners is easier but why risk it.
  3. Do create a safe place in the home to which your friend can retreat. But also allow them the freedom to roam within the home. Shutting in a room may mean they hurt themselves when the flight response kicks in.
  4. Reduce the effects of sudden lights by drawing all curtains and of noise by having radios and tv on. This year is the first-ever radio show for pets on Classic FM between 7-9pm on Saturday 3rd November, so perhaps tune in to that.
  5. Make sure the water bowl is topped up. Nerves and increased panting means more drinks are needed. An earlier feed might be useful if your pet becomes nervous as it may put them off eating. A long-lasting chew is also good for distraction.
  6. Anxiety and stress can be contagious. Don’t overcompensate like the over-nervous parent inducing nerves in their off-spring. Stick to your normal loving regime and stay relaxed. This is a time for rewards not punishments.
  7. If your dog becomes extremely distressed always consult your vet.
    And however relaxed your dog appears don’t take them to a display as this just confronts your friend with its intensity.

Longer Term Approaches

It’s too late for this year, but it is possible to reduce the effects of fireworks on dogs through counter-conditioning. There are special fireworks dvds that can be used while you’re playing with your dog initially at low volume and only for a short period of time. This is often best with a particular toy or game which the dog enjoys and can be played when there are real fireworks.

The RSPCA are also working to get firework noise limits reduced from 120 decibels to 97 and to restricting them to only November 5th, New Year, Chinese New Year and Diwali. But they appear to be some way off.