Dogs and Fireworks

Many dog owners dread Guy Fawkes night and New Year Celebrations when their pets will be upset by the inevitable Firework displays. Here is some practical advice that may help you and your dogs cope at these unsettling times for them.


Your vet will probably have a CD on sale which simulates the cacophony of sounds and violent bangs emitted by fireworks, this used in conjunction with an Adaptil collar or Adaptil plug in device may
help to relax your stressed pet. You need to introduce these sounds now having carefully read the instructions and make sure you distract your dog with a game, training session or favourite chew.
Basically you are endeavouring to desensitize your dog to these unpredictable and erratic explosions. If your pet shows fear do not endorse it by petting him or her and making a fuss, either distract
your dog or allow him/her to retreat to his/her den. and for information about Adaptil products and their uses click here

Pets naturally hide when they are frightened so provide a safe haven which they can squeeze into, maybe an under stairs cupboard or an indoor kennel covered with blankets and an extra cosy bed inside
to burrow into, preferably in the centre of your home. Switch on the television or radio to help mask the bangs and close your curtains/blinds to hide the flashes.

Take your dogs out for a good walk and to do their business before dark and then keep them in. Just one firework exploding can lead to a fear of leaving their home. Do not let your pets out once
fireworks or a display are about to start and if your garden is not totally secure keep them on the lead.

Not always easy, however, if you too become tense when fussing and comforting your dogs when they are frightened you will only endorse their fears and your pet will be less likely to cope when you
are not at home.

Despite what some owners may see as irrational behaviour by their pets please do not resort to anger, your pet is terrified and becoming angry will only make a bad situation worse. If your pet
has sought refuge leave it in its hiding place leave it there. High levels of stress can lead to aggressive behaviour.

Fear is a terrible thing and can result in totally out of character behaviour. If your pet’s angst has given you cause for concern in the past or you have a young pup and want to be prepared, speak to your vet. There is medication that can be prescribed to help pets with extreme phobias.

Tips for Protecting Pets during the Firework Season

    Keep your pets indoors at night during firework season, with the curtains closed, the lights on and music or television turned up to disguise the noise and flashes.
  • If your pets become very anxious, don’t over sympathize with them: they may see this as you approving of their nervous behaviour.
  • Provide a ‘safe place’ – a den or secure covered bed area where they can hide away.
  • Give them plenty of vigorous exercise during the day to tire them out. Don’t exercise them after dark, to avoid running into any displays.
  • Provide plenty of toys such as Kongs and chews to act as a distraction.

  • Block up cat-flaps and close doors and black out windows to prevent your anxious pet from running away or reacting to flashes during firework displays.
  • If your pet is extremely sensitive, consider consulting your veterinary surgeon for a mild sedative or tranquillizer to help keep them calm. If taking this course of action do it now.
  • Make sure that your pet is properly identified in case he/she runs off during fireworks. Use both an identity disc (your name, contact number and post code, not the dog’s name) and a microchip.
  • Consider asking a friend or relative that lives in a more rural environment to take care of your pet for a while, but always remember to update your pets ID tag with the relevant contact details if he’s is staying away from home. Alternatively, you may want to book your pets into a rural boarding kennels to ensure complete safety.
  • Don’t set off fireworks in your own garden. If you must have fireworks, PLEASE let them off as far as possible from homes with pets. It is sensible to attend an organized
    display rather than setting off your own, and of course NEVER take your pet to a firework display! Many pets are terrified by fireworks. They hate the noises their unpredictability and are terrified by the flashing lights.
  • How can you tell if your pet is becoming anxious?

    If they show any combination of shaking, trembling, excessive drooling, barking, howling, trying to hide, trying to get either into or out of the house or garden, temporary loss of appetite,
    temporary loss of bladder or bowel control, unusual destructive behaviour or diarrhoea. If your pet hates fireworks, start your preparation early with a special made Scary CD to slowly desensitize
    them to the sounds of fireworks or other such noises – don’t wait until the fireworks start.

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