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As we approach Guy Fawkes Day (5 November), Diwali (10-11 November), Christmas and New Year, the fireworks season is upon us. Humans, celebrating special occasions through intense firework displays can be a delight for children and adults, however terrifying for our fur kids.
Animals are able to distinguish a far wider range of frequencies than people and the sound from firecrackers is at least five times louder to them. For pets, fireworks are frightening as they experience the world through their senses — nose, eyes and ears. With firework displays, unlike thunderstorms, noises are closer to the ground, more vibrant, and are accompanied by sudden bangs, flashes and burning smells. It is natural for pets to be afraid of unfamiliar and loud noises, which trigger their nervous system, making them anxious or afraid. Fleeing from the sound is a survival instinct and fireworks can cause dogs to dart off and seek shelter, in some cases escape from your property, get lost, and even have a fatal accident on the road.
“Sounds Scary”: Sound Therapy for Dogs – free downloads
The best way to prepare your dogs for fireworks is to familiarise them to the noise in advance. Sounds Scary can help your dog deal with distressing noises such as fireworks. The sound based treatment programmes were developed by two veterinary surgeons specialising in the field of pet behavioural therapy. The products have been scientifically researched, easy to use and extremely effective and include a full set of instructions. Download for free and review the comprehensive guide on how to use Sound Therapy for Dogs.
Plan ahead – Prevention is better than Cure
- Your dog’s identification collars, tags and microchips should be updated – this will help the local authorities and good Samaritans return you beloved companion, if they escape.
- If you know that your pooch will become stressed, consult your vet on calming supplements, sedatives or tranquilisers available.
- Invest in pheromone diffusers or collars, which release calming chemicals, available through pet stores.
- Rescue Remedy, an effective homeopathic solution, has a calming effect on pets and is recommended for both physical and emotional shock and is regularly prescribe by veterinarians.
- Treatment could vary from weeks to days before the fireworks, depending on severity of the anxiety and treatment option.
12 Tips to keep dogs safe and secure
- Stay home if you suspect fireworks will be used. Parents should keep their pets inside, secure and supervised. Just having mom or dad there while the fireworks are going off can have a calming effect on scared
- Attempt to mask any noise by closing windows, drawing curtains and playing calming music at a reasonable volume, to provide some noise distraction.
- Put familiar and comforting things around them such as pet toys, dog beds or baskets and provide entertainment by giving your dog a chewy bone.
- Don’t fuss over your pets during the fireworks. Stay composed and talk calmly to them, but show them that there is nothing to be frightened off.
- Never punish your pets when they’re scared as this will only makes things worse in the long run.
- A quiet place such as a travel kennel or carrier, may provide your pet with a sense of security and comfort.
- Before the fireworks start, expend your dog’s excess energy, by taking a very long walk to tire, and get the animal into a calm state.
- Keep dogs away from windows – some frightened dogs have hurt themselves jumping through glass.
- A nutritious meal around nightfall is recommended, this will make them more likely to be sleepier!
- If you must be outside with your dog, keep the pet on a leash or in a carrier at all times.
- Practice fire safety. Keep pet away from matches, open fires, and fireworks – especially ones that are lighted on the ground. Dogs may try to sniff, eat or fetch thrown fireworks, and pet hair can easily catch fire if too close to the fireworks.
- If possible, make sure that your pets have time to relieve themselves. Some pets are too frightened to go outside once the fireworks start and this may lead to an “accident” later on.