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Dogs and fireworks

If you are looking at this at least four months before your dog will experience fireworks, then you can help them out by following our advice on how to prepare your dog for fireworks.

How to keep your dog happy during fireworks

It’s never a good idea to take your dog to a fireworks display, and indoor fireworks aren’t dog-friendly either. Even if they don’t whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Panting and yawning are both signs that indicate your dog is stressed.

Follow the following advice to help keep your dog calm during fireworks.

Early walks

It’s a good idea to time walks earlier in the day before the fireworks start. Keep your dog on-lead if you think fireworks will be let off.

Don’t tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, ie outside a shop while you pop inside, or leave them in the garden or alone in the car.

Keep them indoors

Always keep your dog indoors when fireworks are being let off. 

The following also helps:

  • Closing the curtains to black out any flashing lights from outside
  • Dogs are likely to drink more when they are worried, so fill their water bowl up to the brim

Background noise

Switching the TV or radio on might help to muffle the sound, but make sure it’s not too loud and don’t try this if your dog isn’t used to noises from the television.

Microchipping

Make sure your dog is microchipped and your information is up to date so your dog can be returned to you if they are spooked by fireworks and run off.

By law your dog should be wearing an ID tag with the owner’s name and address displayed when they are in a public place, too. If your phone number is easily readable you will have a better chance of being reunited quickly.

Help with calming your dog

Speak to your vet about Adaptil products, which contain ‘dog appeasing pheromone’ – these may help promote a feeling of calm for your dog.

What to do if your dog is stressed by fireworks

Dogs show they are stressed or anxious in lots of ways, including:

  • panting excessively
  • drooling
  • shaking
  • yawning
  • putting their tail between their legs

You can help your dog by:

  • letting them pace around, whine and hide in a corner if they want to. Once they have found a safe space try not to disturb them.
  • allowing them to hide in a den where they can feel safe and comfortable when loud noises are all around. This could be under your bed or behind the sofa.
  • placing some of your clothes in the den which may help to keep your pet calm

Although it’s difficult when it’s obvious your pet is stressed, try not to let your dog know you are worried as it may make the problem worse.

Stay calm, act normal and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s okay to cuddle and stroke your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.

It goes without saying that you should never shout at your pet. If you have to leave your house during firework season and come home to find your dog has been destructive or toileted, don’t get angry with them. This won’t help and will also make your dog more stressed.

My dog hates fireworks – I’m dreading fireworks season 

If you know your pet hates loud, high pitched or sudden noises, it’s likely they will struggle to cope with the firework season.

Speak to your vet well in advance as they may be able prescribe calming medication that might help your dog if they really struggle over the period.

It’s worth considering sound therapy, which slowly desensitizes your pet to the zips, whizzes and bangs of fireworks.

Ask your vet or a qualified behaviourist about this, but any training will have to start three to six months in advance of the firework season.

— Page last updated 04/10/2021

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