Fear of Fireworks
These days firework night seems to last for weeks and fireworks are increasingly used at other times of year as well. Fun for the people watching the fireworks but no fun for dogs with a phobia. Looking after a stressed out dog can be very upsetting and prevention is the best cure here. Follow Dr Mugford’s top tips for a peaceful and happy dog and a relaxed owner. Take the time to prepare your dog well in advance of the night resolving your dog’s fear of fireworks will take time and preparation.
- Talk to your vet, they may wish to prescribe a DAP diffuser or medication that works better if started well in advance of firework night.
- Try using a CD of firework noises to accustom your dog to the sound of fireworks, play regularly to your dog, start at a very low volume initially and gradually increase.
On the Night
- Try to stay calm yourself, if you are anxious your dog is likely to pick up on your mood and become even more fearful.
- Keep your dog in his usual routine, this should help to make him feel relaxed and confident.
- Keep your dog busy during the day so that he is ready to relax in the evening.
- Make sure your dog has somewhere he can go that feels safe eg. A dog bed, a favourite hiding place.
- Provide toys such as a stuffed Kong (link to company of animals) to keep him distracted.
- Well in advance of the fireworks starting put on the TV or some music, close the curtains and put on the lights.
When the Fireworks Start
Stay calm and try to ignore any fearful behaviour. Too much reassurance can have the opposite effect, reinforcing the behaviour and making your dog think that he is right to be scared.
If you are concerned that your dog is behaving strangely or having a funny turn please use the Dog symptom guide to find out if you need to call the vets.