fireworks are not restricted to just November 5th. There are now many
other occasions that they are used, New Year & Birthdays to name
just a few and seem to continue for a good two weeks either side of
bonfire night. Other party related objects such as party poppers and
balloons can also cause distress if not introduced properly.
is therefore wise to prepare
our dogs well in advance.
Don’t forget our cats (Make sure that cat flaps are locked) and
other small animals, Rabbits & Guinea pigs, need to be brought inside
a shed or utility room, not a garage where the car is kept though, because
of the dangers of fumes.
When a human being shows fear we are able to talk to them and put an
arm around the shoulders to comfort and reassure, unfortunately if we
were to do this with our dogs we risk making them more afraid.
prior to bonfire night....
Desensitise to the noise. Prepare well before November, purchase a CD
with firework sounds on and play it to your dog increasing the volume
gradually and treating and playing with your dog when he shows no fear
so that he will have a good association with the firework noise, you
can also use the sounds at the top of this page.
On the night and during the firework period, Make sure your dog is tired,
a good walk before dark, and had a good meal. Close the curtains, create
a noise, put on the TV, radio or play some music, whatever is normal
in your household. This will help to mask the noises outside. Never
take your dog to Firework displays and avoid taking out when fireworks
are going off if at all possible. If you should get caught out then
just dismiss it with a happy cheerful voice and make your way home.
Make sure your dog is on a lead and has an ID tag and is micro chipped,
just in case.
Have a place for your dog to hide, maybe a cage with a blanket over
or behind a chair / settee. Wherever your dog chooses to go however
odd, leave him be, don’t try to coax him out, just make him comfortable
with his favourite bed and toys, provide an item of your clothing with
your scent on it, and make sure his water is available. If he does come
out, then you can give him praise. If your dog comes to you for reassurance,
stay calm, but don't coddle him, a hand on the collar is enough.
Give your dog a special treat, a favourite chew, a Kong toy filled with
favourite treats, this should keep him occupied for ages. It is a good
idea to get your dog used to having this treat at night well before
bonfire night, but don't be surprised if this is refused, stressed dogs
usually will not eat.
If your dog needs to relieve him self, go outside with him, if he is
not confined to a safe fenced area then put him on a lead.
Distraction is good, you can have a play session; make the time a fun
one so that your dog associates the bangs with a good time.
There are various products on the market, such as the DAP diffuser,
spray or collars, this releases the natural hormone, pheromone, this
is normally produced by lactating females which promotes a sense of
well being and reassurance. Also natural remedies such as Skullcap &
Valerian and Bach Rescue Remedy. The best results will be attained when
used in conjunction with a good behavioural programme.
These can be purchased at the Vets, on line or at some Health Food Stores,
if concerned then please consult with your Vet before using these products.
The Thundershirt is an excellent product designed to relieve stress,
Thundershirt’s gentle pressure works to calm a dog, experts such
as Dr. Temple Grandin believe that pressure has a calming effect on
the nervous system. Using pressure to relieve anxiety has been a common
practice for years. Or try a tight fitting t-shirt or home made body
Please see your vet for extra help if you feel that your dog is still
extremely stressed, there are various products available from your vet,
such as Zylkene and Clomicalm. There are also some very good natural
herbal products available.
The most important thing is that you remain calm and show no fearful
reaction to the fireworks, if your dog comes to you for reassurance
show him that you are not worried. Do not stroke him to reassure, as
this will just confirm his fear. Just let him settle where he feels
happier. Most dogs will relax when massaged gently.
your dog has settled and is calm and relaxed reward well with simple
praise or treats. I find that if I laugh and say things like "Oooh!
Awwww! that's a lovely firework" and stay bright and nonchalant
then my dogs accept them well.
On walks keep your dog on a lead during firework
season if you think he/she may take fright. Make sure he has a collar
and ID tag and update microchip just in case.