How to help keep your dog safe and calm during fireworks
Tonight it’s firework’s night, which may sound fun to us but it can be a very worrying evening and time of year for our dogs!
Dogs Trust has issued firework advice for dog owners, earlier than normal this year. Fireworks tend to be sudden, unpredictable and bright, and sadly this combination of effects can often have a profoundly negative impact on some dogs. Research carried out on behalf of Dogs Trust Ireland found that 52% of dog owners describe their dogs as being affected by fireworks and bangers.
If your dog is feeling scared or nervous during fireworks, we've put together some tips you can follow to help make sure your dog doesn’t get too upset or panic:
- Walk your dog before it gets dark to avoid fireworks and flashing lights. Make sure they are well exercised and have had a toilet break before you think the fireworks will begin.
- Feed your dog before you think the fireworks will begin, as they may become unsettled and not want to eat with the noise.
- Provide a safe hiding place – make sure your dog has somewhere safe in his or her favourite room, perhaps under the table. Close the curtains, turn the lights on, and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out the firework noises. Here’s a video we made earlier about How to build a doggy den
- Don’t leave your dog alone, either indoors or outdoors, if fireworks are being set-off in your area. Scared dogs can make desperate attempts to escape and there is the danger of him being injured.
- Be extra careful when opening the front door as your dog may try to escape. If possible, ensure there is another closed door between your dog and your front door.
- Make sure that your dog is wearing a collar and an ID tag and that their microchip details are up to date with your microchip database provider.
- Don't punish your dog for cowering or reacting to the fireworks as this will intensify their fear. You should aim to remain relaxed and therefore be a good role model for your dog when they are afraid. However, if your dog comes to you for comfort don't ignore them – interact with them calmly.
- Keep your dog busy indoors - play games or enjoy some reward-based training to keep their mind off the noises. However, if they just want to hide away then don't force them to come out of their hiding place, allow them to stay where they feel safe.
- If you think this is an ongoing issue and that your dog regularly gets worried by loud noises, contact your vet to see if there's an underlying health problem first, and to help you find a qualified behaviourist. Your vet will also be able to discuss whether medication might be helpful.
For more tips and tricks on how to help keep your dog safe and calm during fireworks, please visit our advice page