Fireworks night can be a disturbing time for your dog, a survey carried out by CEVA in 2008 found that up to 60% of pets become distressed by fireworks. In many cases it can be older dogs that start to show signs of distress as the fireworks begin. Some symptoms are very obvious, for example, agitation, panting, vomiting, excessive thirst and maintaining an alert status, but some dogs show less clear signs, they can yawn frequently, cower and hide and even become extra affectionate. If your dog finds fireworks alarming, here are some tips to try:
- Avoiding firework displays can be a good idea. If there is a big display being organised in your local area, prepare your dog for a secure night in or plan a dog visit with friends further afield.
- If fireworks are going off loudly nearby, try keeping your dog inside with the windows, curtains and doors closed. Even if he seem to want to go outside, try to restrict this to short breaks in the garden as dogs can easily run away out of fear and become lost. Turning on some music or the TV can help to drown out some of the firework noise.
- Staying with your dog can give him great reassurance and make him feel safer, but acting normally and calmly is thought to help more than responding to signs of anxiety.
- Planning a long afternoon or lunchtime walk to exercise and tire your dog out can help as he will be naturally more sleepy in the evening.
- Try acclimatising your dog to firework noises before November. Noise CD’s can give you the opportunity to introduce your dog to a variety of potentially disturbing noises in a controlled manner.
- Keep your dog’s collar on, if the noises cause him to escape, this will make sure you can be easily contacted when your pet is found. A microchip will help as well to ensure you are reunited.
- Some dogs need veterinary help to get through fireworks. There are various natural methods your vet can suggest, DAP diffusers and relaxing hormones for instance, before sedation becomes necessary.