Firework Seaseon is a time of year that so many dog owners dread. It is so upsetting to see our faithful and loyal companions afraid, so we've put together some advice on how to keep your dog calm during what can be a very stressful time.
If you can try to acclimiatise your dog prior to Bonfire Night by playing CD's with firework noises, or clips from You Tube. Even if you do manage to do this it is still important to be ready for the big night as the noise may be more than they are used to.
Firstly, make sure that you know when the big local displays are being held, and don't be afraid to ask the neighbours if they are planning anything at home. Then make sure you feed your dog a good while prior to the start of any displays, shut all windows, draw the curtains and settle down for the evening. Keep their water topped up at all times, anxious dogs can pant and therefore drink more.
It is very important for you to remain calm, dogs feed of our anxiety so if you're stressed about them getting stressed, then the likelihood is that it will happen. Keep happy and upbeat, praising your dog if he responds positively. Turning the TV up to drown out the noise or playing fun and interactive games can also act as a useful distraction.
If your dog is an only dog consider getting one of their calmer friends around. Some dogs are noticeably more relaxed when they have another dog with them, but pick carefully, two frightened dogs could make matters worse and they've got to be completely comfortable with one another.
Thundershirts which act like swaddling to comfort the dog, can be very effective for all types of anxiety. Recommended by many dog trainers and behaviourists they work by applying pressure, reassuring the dog that all is well.
Alternatively if your dog is very scared then try to provide them with a place to hide. If he has a cage allow him to go in there, and perhaps put covers over it to give a greater sense of security. Alternatively create a makeshift hiding place under a table, a bed or with a large cardboard box. Be open to all possibilities, we know of dogs that feel safer in the shower cubicle; wherever their safe place is, let them go there.
Natural remedies can also be very effective such as the Pet Remedy Diffuser which uses essential oils to promote the natural calming neurotransmitter GABA without sedating them; or add a few drops of Pet Calmer to your dog's food or water.
For some dogs however prescribed medication is necessary so if your dog gets very scared regardless of what you do, or becomes aggressive, then speak to your vet about your options.
Whatever route you go down try to walk your dog outside of peak firework times and if your dog is scared don't leave him to fend for himself as he could panic and hurt himself. Also ensure if you have to open a door that your dog is safely secured in another room, fear can cause them to bolt out.