Dog Owner Guides | Caring for your dog during fireworks
During this time of year, it’s a good idea to time walks earlier in the day so it is still light and try to keep your dog on their lead if you think fireworks will be let off. Make sure your dog is microchipped and your information is up to date so your dog can be returned to you if they get 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.
Keep your eye out for if your dog is showing signs of stress. This can include panting excessively, drooling, shaking, yawning, and putting their tail between their legs.
Let your worried dog pace around, whine and hide in a corner if he wants to. Once they have found a safe space try not to disturb them. Never shout at your dog for doing this, reprimanding them won’t help and will also make your dog more stressed.
Dogs may like 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, or you could make then an enclosed 'safe space'. Placing some of your clothes there might help to keep your pet calm as your scent may reassure them that they are safe.
It’s also important that you try and stay calm and act normally. It’s okay to cuddle and stroke your dog if you find it helps them to relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.
Try and plan ahead and make a note of the dates of local fireworks. This will help you to plan ahead and make sure you can be there for your dog when they need you.
A couple of months before the firework season begins you can try and use a desensitisation playlist, to gradually get your dog used to the noises. Start at the lowest possible volumes and very gradually increase the volume and duration of sounds each day over a number of weeks. Reward and praise any calm behaviours and if you see anxiety, stop immediately and take it back to the previous volume – only progress when they are calm.
Thunder shirts gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for some dogs if anxious, fearful or over-excited. The shirt calming wrap applies gentle pressure, similar to swaddling an infant, in order to help your dog feel more safe and calm during stressful periods.
It goes without saying but it is never a good idea to take your dog to a fireworks display! Even if they don’t whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Never put your dog into a situation they will find stressful for your own benefit.