Dogs can find it hard to deal with the stress and anxiety of fireworks. Follow our simple top tips to help your dog cope.
How to help you dog cope with fireworks on the day
- Take your dog out for a walk in the light before the fireworks start.
- Don’t try to get him used to fireworks or over his fear of fireworks by walking him during the fireworks since this is likely to heighten his fear.
- Don’t leave him alone whilst you go out to watch a firework display, he will find it harder to cope without you there.
- Rescue centres fill up with lost dogs after firework night so be prepared for the worst, make sure his microchip details are up to date and he is wearing his ID tag.
- Provide your dog with a safe den area in the living room. This could be his create, covered by a blanket with the door open or a space under a table; covered to give him a feeling of security.
- Get a DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) plug-in to help your dog cope. They give out a scent that can be comforting to your dog but undetectable to people.
- Dogs can have a heightened awareness of sight, sounds and smell during fireworks so try to mask these. Keep all windows closed, curtains drawn and the TV or radio volume up.
- Give your dog something to do to distract himself: a favourite toy, Nylabone, stag antler, Kong, or Kong Wobbler.
- Don’t try to reassure your dog since if you are feeling anxious he will pick up on your anxiety. Don’t ignore him either; let him stay close if he chooses to. Model the behaviour you want by staying calm and ignoring the fireworks.
Prepare your dog for fireworks night
You should also actively work to desensitise your dog to fireworks if he has any problems. Please contact us for an appointment to start work on this in time for the New Years fireworks.
Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.
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