Firework night is just around the corner, and like me you might be thinking that the celebrations seem to start earlier year after year.
This is less than welcome news for those of us with dogs that absolutely hate fireworks, so the team at Friends and Canines have put together a few of our tried and tested tips to help prepare your pooch for the firework season.
Read on to find a few practical and low-cost ideas to keep your furry friends safe and happy as the big bangs start.
Even if your pooch has been fine with fireworks so far, there’s no saying that one badly timed bang won’t send them into a fear frenzy.
Make sure that you know if there are due to be any firework displays near your home and make sure that you have plenty of games and treats to keep them occupied if they start reacting to the bangs.
Fireworks sound like heavy artillery to dogs, and no amount of explaining is going to make them understand that fireworks aren’t going to hurt them. That’s why is a good idea to start and de-sensitize your dog to any firework noises as soon as you can, so they get used to the bangs and whizzy sounds before things really start to kick in. Even if they were fine last year, break them in easily it was 10 months ago!!
The Dogs Trust have a great free download that features an audio clipping of fireworks, so check it out here Firework Sounds (top tip start playing it NOW really really low while other noises are present eg. tv, radio and build the level up)
Plan your walks
As fireworks require darkness to be at their pretty best, consider changing your dogs’ walkies schedule for a few weeks to avoid being caught out by a nearby firework. Consider missing the teatime walks in favour of an afternoon stroll if you can or opt to play games instead as this will keep your dog occupied as darkness falls.
The art of distraction
For dogs that are only mildly concerned by nearby fireworks, keeping their minds occupied and ears distracted from what’s going on outside is a great way to keep them entertained and minimize anxiety.
Natural calming aids
Like humans, some dogs react well to natural calming aid when they start to feel stressed or anxious. I love the Dorwest Valerian compound but many of my customers have enjoyed success by burning lavender oil in an oil burner or try our lavender wax melt here, to help calm a fearful dog, but I really like the two products below as they are dog safe and smell amazing!
Make your own dusk routine
As the firework season seems to go on forever, it’s a good idea to carry out the same routine to help your dog feel safe and secure. This includes playing calming music a little louder than you normally would, closing the curtains and having treats and distractions at the ready. This is a great recording to practice play and have ready to play.
Chew through the noise
Did you know that chewing relieves stress, worry and is a great distraction for anxious dogs? Chewing has been proven to reduce anxiety in dogs, so make sure that you have a few long-lasting treats to hand to see you through the fireworks this year.
Doggy ear bands
If your dog is really struggling with all of the loud noises, then a great way to muffle the sound is to make your own DIY doggy ear defender! Although this won’t completely block out the bangs, it will reduce the volume of the fireworks.
I used this product on Dodger last year from the Happy Hoodie, but you could always make your own with a small snood or even a scarf if you haven’t had chance to order one in advance. But the happy hounds does compress slightly making it more effective, try it on yourself!!
Have you got any more top firework tips you want to share? Then pop them in the comments box below!