Fireworks – or anything really which creates a loud noise – can be very unsettling to a dog’s sensitive hearing. I have friends with dogs who are terrified of loud bangs and often retreat to a corner of the house far away from any windows. That’s why it’s important to take precautions during this time of year to ensure your dog is at its safest and happiest. Here are 6 sensible tips for dealing with dog’s who are sensitive to these colourful, but very loud, explosions
1. If leaving the house, ensure your dog is in a secure and comfortable place – in particular, if you’re leaving to go to see a fireworks display then keep your dog inside close the windows and perhaps leave the television or radio on to create some familiar noise and detract from the sounds. Anxious dogs will search for a safe place to hide when frightened . A dog crate is ideal but if you don’t have one clear out the bottom of a large cupboard and put the dogs bed in there . You can also make a dark cosy den for your pet by throwing blankets over a couple of chairs to make a den.
2. If your dog has bad reactions to weather/fireworks then safe-proof an area for them – make sure it is completely secure and comfortable so they can’t run away and leave them plenty of fresh water. This is particularly important for outside dogs that use a kennel. Dogs which are easily distressed can get a fright and might run away if they’re terrified of the noise.
3. Kennels – to create a more comfortable outside area for your dog, put a kennel in a secure and dark area near the house. You can also line its kennel with carpet which has a calming effect as it’s warmer and minimises noise levels.
4. Identification tags/chips – this is essential if you have a dog that is prone to running away. Particularly if a loud noise unsettles it, a dog might try to escape in order to retreat from the noise. Make sure your contact details are on your pet’s tags so you can be contacted. All dogs should now be chipped.
5. Medication – medication is particularly effective if you have a dog that is deeply distressed by the noise. I’ve known some dogs to soil the carpet and shake because of their anxiety so it’s definitely something to consider if your dog’s behaviour is affected. You can get medications prescribed from your vet but there are some highly effective natural remedies such as sprays and plug-in diffusers that are available for reasonable prices and which aren’t riddled with needless chemicals. The only drawback about medication and natural remedies is that you must begin them early enough to take effect. Usually 2-3 weeks before you expect firework season/anxiety.
6. How to deal with a distressed dog – this is extremely difficult to do but when you see your dog upset but it’s important not to comfort or fuss your dog when he/she is displaying fear. Stay calm as your behaviour is mirrored by your dog and if you’re harmonious about the situation (whether it’s fireworks or a really bad storm) then your dog will be too as he/she will know through its pack leader that there is nothing to be concerned about!