Fireworks can cause stress, anxiety, and even aggression in dogs, and that’s completely normal. Lots of dogs are frightened by fireworks.
If you have an anxious dog or a new rescue, who hasn’t yet experienced their first fireworks season, it’s important you are prepared and have a plan in place.
It’s natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. Especially when they don’t know what the noise is, where it’s coming from or when the next one is going to be. The unexpected noises can trigger their fight-or-flight response, causing them to become anxious or afraid.
Traditional festivities are looking very different this year because of the pandemic. Major public fire displays are getting cancelled all over the country!
While this may be a relief for dog owners, it could mean that more parents are pressured to have a fireworks party at home. Following concerns for pets, Sainsbury’s was the first major British retailer to stop selling fireworks last year. We just wish other big retailers would follow!
Fireworks can get set off closer to your home than you think, so it’s crucial you have a firework plan for your pets' safety and welfare in place.
Ensure it is all up to date and owner details are changed in case of the worst-case scenario
Any dog that escapes or runs away while fireworks are going off can be reunited with their owner much more easily. To find out more info on how to register your dog in the UK follow this link.
There are many ways to reduce your rescue’s anxieties and stress around fireworks. We’ve licked up our best top tips on how to help make them feel more comfortable.
Create a safe hiding place where your dog can hide from fireworks
Creating a safe hiding place is a great way to help your rescue feel safe and secure. If your Rescue is used to being in a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside. Don’t lock your dog in, it’s best to leave them to choose where they want to hide. The airline crate they arrived in is perfect for this±
Make your house and garden escape-proof.
If a dog is terrified of fireworks, they might run into and through anything in a panic
Do not leave your dog outside, even if it’s a secure space. Your dog is likely to cope better indoors as the noises, smells and flashes coming from the fireworks will be less intense and muted by the building.
Go for walkies before it gets dark to avoid outdoors when fireworks are likely to go off
Not only will this reduce the chance of your buddy getting startled whilst outside, but it will also help your dog to be calm in the evening. For most of the year, it’s against the law to set off fireworks after 11 pm, but on Bonfire night, the curfew is extended to midnight.
Earlier meal-times will stop your dog going hungry.
Have you ever been so anxious you couldn’t eat? Anxious and Hungry is never a good combination, even in humans. Make sure you feed your doggo and top up their water bowl before the fireworks begin. Anxious dogs pant a lot and will get thirsty.
Stick around for the evening to help them feel relaxed.
How would you feel if your best friend left you alone when you were frightened? Your dog will feel exactly the same!
Don’t force them to stay with you. Give your dog options, so they can choose how they want to hide. Maybe a snuggle on the sofa is the firework remedy your dog needs. Do not feel guilty for comforting them, they need your reassurance now more than ever.
If your dog can see that fireworks have no effect on you, this may help decrease their anxiety
Remain calm and happy, as this will send positive signs to your dog. Your dog is extremely good at picking up on how you’re feeling, remember: if you’re panicking, your dog will know something’s quite not right.
Always draw the curtains and ensure all windows are closed
The lights and flashing across the sky can cause distress. We suggest leaving the lights on indoors to reduce the impact of flashes. Closing your windows is an obvious step, but you could always put the TV or music on to fade out the explosions.
Never tell your rescue off for being scared, it’s not their fault!
If your dog just wants to hide away, that is absolutely fine. Don’t make them come out of their safe space if they don’t want to. If you force your pet to face their fears, they’re only going to become more frightened.
Provide your dog with a long-lasting chew to help keep them distracted
We know just the solution! If you’re looking for engaging dog toys Tug-e-Nuff is the pet shop for you!
Bully sticks and kongs are also great distractions from the chaos of bonfire night. Those of you in a multi-dog household may want to separate your dogs to ensure they do not resource guard this high-value treat while fearful of the fireworks.