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How to calm your dog during firework season

Posted by Emily Harris on
How to calm your dog during firework season

Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason, plot and whole load of scared animals! We all know bonfire night as the 5th November but it's not just limited to 1 night of the year anymore. As dog owners we're always on the lookout to find ways to keep our dogs calm during firework season. 

The growing popularity of fireworks now means they are not just limited to one night of the year, being shot in to the air for New Year, Christmas, weddings, birthdays, you name it, if there's an occasion, there's usually a firework. But what is this like for our animals? 

When I (Emily) was a child I grew up with a large garden so over the years we had goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, ferrets, basically an entire ark of animals. One of my fondest memories was on bonfire night, my mum and dad would cover the dining room floor with newspaper, and all the animals would be brought inside. Being a child and having chickens in the house it was the most magical night. I never really considered why we did that, to me it was just fun, but to the animals it was the sanctuary they needed to escape the outdoors. 

Dogs and Fireworks

To (some) humans fireworks are exciting, shooting high in to the sky, and exploding in to wonderful bright colours (personally I think they are dangerous and because of the effect on Lola i'm totally against them) but for dogs, they are flashing lights and loud bangs. They can be extremely frightening and cause a great amount of stress. 

Lola is terrified of fireworks, being a collie she is hyper sensitive to noise, so her anxiety levels go through the roof. 

A blog on top tips to calm your dog on the Battersea website says: 

"While there are things you can do to calm your dog during fireworks, getting your dog used to loud sounds can be a better long-term solution. By gradually desensitising your dog to loud noises over a period of time, you can teach them to associate these sounds with something positive, instead of something to be scared of" 

Unfortunately if your dog is anything like Lola this just isn't an option, trying to desensitise causes more stress and anxiety than it does good.

Top tips for calming your dog and reducing stress levels

Here's a few top tips when it comes to reducing your dogs anxiety and helping to reduce the stress of fireworks: 

1. Keep your dog indoors - This is the number one priority of any night where there are fireworks. If you know there will be fireworks (such as evenings of major events) then get cosy and stay indoors.

2. TV and music - TV and music is a great way to muffle out those loud bangs. Did you know that Spotify has playlists for dogs, also on bonfire night Classic FM often host a 'hour for dogs' with a full playlist of classical music to soothe and relax your pooch? Avoid loud and erratic music and TV such as heavy metal and action films.

3. Draw the curtains - Keep those bright lights away by drawing the curtains and making a cosy den for your dog.

4. Don't confine your dog - You may think you are doing the right thing by shutting doors, but don't confine your dog so they feel trapped. Let your dog find a place thats right for them. Feeling confined could cause even more stress and anxiety.

5. Create a safe place - Dogs love a den, so create a safe space for your dog using blankets and cushions. f you have a crate, or its currently in the attic, then dig it out and leave the door open as an option for them to get settled it. 

6. Distraction - Try not to bring attention to the fact your dog may be scared, play with toys or use the time to do a bit of training - An excellent way to help take their mind off the fireworks and bring their focus to you. 

And don't forget if your dog is still anxious and stressed during these times consult your vet who will be able to help. 

Good luck everyone and look after those pups!

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