When Your Dog Fears Fireworks
Pet hears fireworks
Make sure your dog is microchipped – an up-to-date microchip and a collar and tag give you the best chance of being reunited should he run off.
Escape-proof your house – keep doors and windows shut, and block off any dangerous or unsuitable areas your dog may get into.
Create a hiding place – a safe den for him to take refuge in. If he normally hides in a specific place, make sure he has access to this area and encourage him to use it with treats and toys. A table draped with a blanket makes an ideal place to hide. If your dog is accustomed to using a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside.
Do not shut your dog in – it’s very important not to shut your dog in a confined area, as he could injure himself trying to escape. Allow access to all safe areas of the house.
Draw the curtains – to block out any sudden bursts of light. Keeping lights on in some rooms and leaving other rooms in darkness will enable your pet to choose where he feels safe.
Put on some music – to reduce the impact of the sudden sound of fireworks. Music with strong beats and baselines is ideal when played at a level your dog is happy with.
Walk your dog while it’s still light, and if he needs to be taken out again, try to wait until the fireworks have finished.
Act normally around your pets – dogs are very perceptive, and if they notice you’re behaving unusually (like following them around or being overly affectionate), they will sense something is up!
Let accidents go – if your dog becomes destructive, or goes to the toilet in the house, it is likely to be due to stress, and getting angry will only aggravate the situation. The best thing to do is ignore this for the night, then seek advice from a behaviorist or trainer.
Buy him a treat – wherever your dog decides to settle for the night, a long-lasting chew or toy can be a great distraction from the noise going on outside. There are also products on the market that can help pets cope with stressful events.
If your dog still suffers from anxiety during fireworks, it’s best to seek advice from a behaviorist or trainer, who can help with desensitizing your dog to noises and flashes. Do not wait until near the event, however, as this process can take some time.
When pets hear fireworks, many prefer to hide in the corner of a room, or under a bed. Create a comfortable den in a hidden space, such as a wardrobe or cupboard, padded with pillows and blankets to help soundproof it, so your pet will have a secure and safe environment when it’s needed. Keeping the TV or radio on can also help mask the noise, and make sure all windows and cat flaps are closed. Building the den in advance gives pets time to get used to space. Praise and reward him when he uses it, as this creates a positive connection, but don’t force him to use it if he’s found a preferred spot of his own. Reward any calm dogs behavior. If your dog needs your reassurance to feel safe, continue to comfort him. If you know in advance that your dog is worried by fireworks, speak to your vet or vet nurse for advice on a desensitization programmers.