How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks Season
It's that time of year again when fireworks are going off. Pet owners are getting stressed and moaning on social media about banning fireworks.
Whether it's the loud noises and flashing lights of fireworks, they can be very Scary for your dogs; you can do things to minimize your dog's stress levels.
We have got you and your furry friend with our TNDT top tips for managing dogs and fireworks this fireworks season.
The are several things you can do these days, from medication to a more natural approach, such as Desensitization.
Desensitization getting your dog used to loud sounds usually is a better long-term solution.
By Desensitization with your dog to loud noises over time, you will help teach. Your dog associates the sound with something positive instead of something to be scared of.
I have tried this with Tilly. The best time (in the UK) to start is the beginning of September. First, you want to get a high-reward treat for your dog. I use Pate. Then go on your phone or smart tv and go on youtube and type in firework sounds. Start off playing fireworks sounds for 20 minutes on a low sound. When your dog is not bothered, reward them with your chosen treat.
The next day do the same again; this time, increase the sound to the next level. Starting in September gives you a month to train your dog before November 5th, before the first round of fireworks goes off.
Enrichment can also help your dog during the fireworks by giving your dog a fun activity such as a Kong® or lick mat. Lick mats are an excellent tool for calming your dog down and making them feel less stressed. Lick mats actively reduce anxiety and promote calm behaviour in your dog by encouraging licking action and stimulating your pet's tongue. The extended licking action promoted by a Lick mat releases a calming hormone for dogs.
Kong® can also offer similar benefits to Lick mats. Engaging your dog with an activity takes their mind off the fireworks noises and distracts them. Again they will be working out how to get the treat out. For an extra challenge, why not freeze the Kong first? Order yours from us, and we will send you a free leaflet with how to use your Kong and a recipe on the back. We also have a range of videos for both lick mats and Kong on TikTok & Instagram.
Let's get started with our ten tips for helping your dog this fireworks season.
1: Never take your dog out when fireworks are most likely to be set off.
Take your dog out on a nice relaxing walk before dark. Let your dog sniff plenty, as sniffing can tire your dog out more than walking. Sniffing gets your dog's brain going and thinking about the smells, and they process information.
2: Create a 'safe space' inside for your dog to hide from fireworks.
If your dog is crate trained, this is a perfect place for them to go and hide and take some me time. Leave the door unlocked, as locking it may make it even more stressful for your dog(dogs). You would even cover the creature with a towel to make it more of a den. Make sure your dog has a bed and blanket inside, also.
Have you yet to get a crate? Don't worry!
Feel free to make your own Den A table draped with a blanket or sheet is a great relaxation space for your dog.
3. The sudden banging of fireworks can be hidden by keeping a steady background noise on like a tv or radio, which will reduce the impact noises can have on your pet
Classical music has been shown in recent studies to help the calm dog. Classic FM now has a particular hour of pet-calming music dedicated to reducing your and your dog's stress levels during the fireworks.
4. Draw curtains or blinds before it gets dark. It can work to help block the flashing light from fireworks.
It's not just the sound of fireworks that causes distress for your dog; it's also the light that flashes across the sky. You could leave a bright light indoors to reduce the flashes from outside.
5. Let your dog into more than one room as they can hurt themselves trying to get out; if they become stressed, you can also keep a better eye on your dog.
Dogs may be comfortable curled up in their favourite spot with you rather than a designated 'safe space'; always allow access to safe spaces around the home. They will also need access to their water/food bowls.
6. Make sure your dog has a microchip, and check that the details are up to date.
We have all heard stories of dogs running off when scared or worried. Make sure all your chip details are updated so should your dog(s) run off, they can quickly reunite your dog with you. Did you know that it is now a legal requirement as of April 2016 to Microchip, your dog? Make sure your dog is microchipped so essential. So the vets and other professionals with scanners can reunite you and your dog.
7. Make sure your dog can see that fireworks don't bother you; this will help decrease their anxiety.
Animals are like children. They are highly perceptive and will notice if you're not reasonably behaving normally. Don't Follow your dog around or be overly affectionate & fussy with them, as this may cause them to feel nervous or confused.
You can reassure your pet by playing with their favourite toy. Try to behave normally. The more anxious behaviour you display, the more anxious & stressed the dog will be.
8. Making sure the home or garden is secure & escape-proof is essential for keeping your dog safe.
Make sure your doors and windows stay closed. If possible, close and lock doors that lead outside.
Secure all escape routes in your garden, just in case your dog tries to escape, and make sure everyone in the home is quickly opening and closing external doors. Try and implement a rule of leaving your dog behind two doors. This way, they are two doors your dog needs to get through before they get out of the home.
9. Giving your dogs a long-lasting chew or activity can help keep them distracted & busy.
Check out our online store. We are an official stockist in Kong. We love Kong and use them here at Tilly's Natural Dog Treats. They are fantastic for stuffing, or why not freeze for later on? All you need to do is get one out of the freezer, swill and wipe it dry. Then give it to your dog. We also have a range of natural treats and chews. All our treats and chews are 100% rawhide, FREE. We never have and never will sell rawhide in our product range.
10. If your dog is still very stressed out by fireworks after following our advice, you may need to consult your vet for further help and support.
Your vet will know you and your dog the best. They may be able to provide medication to help reduce your pet's anxiety – however, we recommend using natural medications and treatments where possible. Ask your vet what is in the medicine to help make an informed choice before deciding.