How do your dogs react when they hear fireworks? I’m guessing they don’t jump for joy and ask to be taken to the nearest bonfire or fireworks display!
Although bonfire night traditionally is on 5th November, for many reasons fireworks displays are increasingly spread over a 2 week period, which is pretty annoying for pet owners. It can cause many problems with your dogs, cats and other animals, particularly if they are sensitive to noise and bright lights. Fireworks nowadays are so much louder than they used to be and unless, which is highly improbable, you are lucky enough to be able jaunt off to some ‘firework free’ island around the end of October, you’ve no chance of avoiding them!
In fact there are other times throughout the year when people may let off fireworks now, they are popular for weddings, birthdays and of course new year celebrations.
If you consider that dogs’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans, in fact dogs can hear sounds that are not even loud enough for our ears, also consider that they can hear sounds four times further away than we can, it is hardly surprising that they can become extremely distressed by the sounds of loud fireworks.
It is essential that you make sure your dog’s microchip details are up to date and if possible that they are wearing their ID tag, so in the worst case scenario they do get startled and run off, they can be traced back to you. Obviously it would be best to try and avoid this situation in the first place, so please ensure that your dogs are kept safe inside. Keep doors closed: if somebody comes to your front door, close your dog away safely in another room of the house, away from the hallway so they do not escape in fright. If your dog needs to go outside in the garden, do not leave them outside on their own – accompany them outside and if they are of a particularly nervous disposition put them on their lead so you can keep them close to you and avoid any sudden scares which may cause them to escape from your garden in fear.
So what can we do to ensure our lovely dogs don’t get completely stressed out by the loud bangs that will inevitably be dominating our environment?
Keep all your windows and doors closed to try and muffle the sound, also keep all curtains and blinds closed – this will help mute the sound further and will hide the bright flashing lights which can also be distressing. Your dog will always feel safer in familiar surroundings and with the people they know and love – you! So anything out of the ordinary is going to make them feel uneasy.
Walk your dog during the daytime, not in the evening, always keep them on their lead, just in case any fireworks are let off early. Give them a little time out in the garden just before it gets dark so you can then keep them in until after the fireworks have finished. Stay out in the garden with them to ensure they do not get scared, particularly just in case a firework may go off.
During the evening and whilst fireworks are going off, keep your household calm – act happy and cheerful and do not react to any loud noises you hear. Keep it as normal as possible. Have music playing or turn the sound up slightly on your TV to try and drown out any noises from outside.
If your dog seems distressed comfort them and try and distract them. If they want to be left alone, just leave them be and ensure there is a comfortable place for them where they can feel safe. As responsible dog owners, our dogs’ safety and comfort needs to be of utmost priority.
Reward your dogs with treats for calm behaviour and don’t get annoyed with them if they bark – after all that’s what dogs do!!
There are plug-ins available which give off dog-calming pheromones, these may help if fireworks are a real issue for your dog.
Of course cats and other pets can also be affected by the loudness of fireworks. It is vital to keep your cat calm and quiet too. Definitely keep them inside – it really won’t do them any harm – even if they are natural roamers. Cats are highly likely to be petrified by the sound of fireworks and if this happens they are likely to run off somewhere to try and hide and escape the noise. This could lead to them become disorientated and perhaps not returning home.
What do you do to help your dog during fireworks?