How to get your dog ready for Fireworks this New Year’s Eve
If you’re a dog owner, it’s likely that you dread the time between October and New Year’s Eve, especially if your dog is one of the 45% who displays signs of stress whenever there’s a fireworks display happening nearby. Having worked with a number of clients who worry about their dogs, we’ve put together a survival strategy for you to help your dog through the firework season and see him back to his happy, care-free self.
Check if there are events happening near you
Knowing how close fireworks displays are happening to your home will help you to plan your arrangements for helping your dog. It’s good to check the website of your local council authority to see if there are public displays happening, as well as politely asking your surrounding neighbours if anyone’s planning a New Year’s Eve display.
Slowly expose your dog to the sounds of thunder, loud bangs and fireworks gradually, using a CD. Initially play it at a low volume whilst you give him treats, play a game or give him some fuss. If you have the time to gradually do this, it’ll help you to build positive associations to the firework-like noises as you turn up the volume to a point where your dog will tolerate the noise.
Wrap them up!
Try using an anti-anxiety wrap on your dog, but try to get him acclimatised to wearing one before New Year’s Eve. Some studies show that dogs find comfort in the wrap’s constant and gentle pressure, similar to swaddling a baby. Signs of anxiety such as hiding, shaking, drooling and panting may be reduced with an anti-anxiety wrap.
Build a doggy den
Crate training your dog is incredibly useful for a number of reasons, including if your dog gets anxious during firework season. Build a doggy den for your dog to hide in. Keep it in the centre of your living room, away from the walls and windows. Leave the door of the crate open, put a comfy dog bed in there, along with lots of blankets for burrowing, tasty treats and some well loved toys. Then cover the crate in more blankets to muffle the sounds of fireworks outside.
Give your dog an action movie film night
Action films with plenty of explosions, gun shots and loud noises are quite effective out masking the noise of the fireworks outside. Make sure your curtains and doors are closed, turn up the surround sound and give your dog an action movie film night to see in the New Year.
When your dog is upset, it’s all too tempting to comfort him and make a fuss of him, but this will only cement in his mind that he has something to worry about and could even make his anxiety worse. The best way you can help your dog is to act normally around him, showing him there’s nothing to worry about. Ensuring you’re as relaxed as possible will help your dog to mirror your mood.
Additionally, you should never tell your dog off for being scared or nervous as this will make the entire night significantly worse for both of you.
Take an early walk
Help your dog to relax by taking him for a walk when it’s still light outside, giving him food a couple of hours before the fireworks will start and provide him with lots of fresh water. Although you’ll be walking your dog when it’s light outside, make sure your dog’s collar fits correctly and his microchip has your current contact information on it, just in case the worst happens and he runs off.
Whilst we at Alchemy Fireworks love a good display, your dog definitely doesn’t want to be at a fireworks display as you try and get him to face his fear.
Visit your vet
If your dog expresses extreme fear and anxiety during fireworks season, you may want to consider visiting your vet. They may give your furry friend an anti-anxiety prescription, or suggest an Adaptil pheromone plug-in that will help to soothe and calm him.
Signs of canine anxiety
There are a number of ways you can tell if your dog’s stressed out during fireworks season, including:
- Barking, howling, whining or growling
- Cowering and looking for somewhere to hide
- Decreased activity
- Destructive behaviour
- Excessive scratching
- Going to the toilet indoors
- Loss of appetite
At Alchemy Fireworks, we understand that sometimes, you may want quiet fireworks that don’t cause as much stress and anxiety to nearby dogs, pets and wildlife. Our quiet fireworks are the best way to have a stunning fireworks display this New Year’s Eve without stressing out neighbouring animals.