As humans, we enjoy our public displays of lights and sounds during Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve etc. While you are hanging outside with friends and family and soaking up the view, your four-legged friend is probably feeling out of sorts.
Dogs, in particular, are generally fearful of loud noise or may have developed sensitivity to it over time. Here are a few ways that you can comfort them during such stressful times and ease their anxiety…
Keep them indoors where they are safe
Keep pets behind closed doors and windows before, during, and after the fireworks display so you can clean up. Some pet owners build cozy corners made for the fireworks season. Others have their dog or cat snuggled in their bed. Wherever they are, make sure they have access to water, food, and favourite toys. If staying by their side is not an option, find someone who will keep them company.
If you think that your dog can handle the situation, take him outside in a crate. Never let him out unattended, tied to a random post, or left inside the car. The fireworks can be a source of panic or curiosity for animals; they may run loose, chase after debris, and get injured in the process.
Distract them with chews
Keep your dog busy with long-lasting chews. These help your dogs vent their frustration away from your precious household items.
Bully sticks are an example of chews that provide the perfect distraction for hours. They are flavourful and safe to ingest, so you don’t have to worry about blockages.
Dogs also have other tasty options to keep them busy while the fireworks are in full display. Antlers, hooves, and bones can come in healthy forms—make sure they are ideal for your dog’s age and size. As always, provide treats under close supervision.
Set the room for relaxation time
Thunderstorms and fireworks share two things that can agitate dogs: loud noise and flashes of light. When either occurs, close the windows, then put on music to calm them down. The noise from your phone or TV, can drown the outside noise.
Dogs appreciate music to soothe their troubles, and the genre does not have to be classical. As a widely reported study from Physiology & Behavior notes, dogs enjoy soft rock and reggae. Now, you know what to do to your canine-calming playlist.
Let them exercise
Exercise can help your furry animal deal with the bangs and crackles. It can be an early-morning routine or nighttime play inside the home. Look into games that will stimulate their brains and take their attention away from the current festivities. For any physical or mental challenge, feed your fur friend well.
Some owners elect to train their pets to make them grow accustomed to fireworks. This training is geared toward desensitisation or continuous exposure to the stimulus. With practice and patience, the dog overcomes his fear or negative response toward the subject.
Prepare in case of an escape
Pets with collar tags and microchips have more chances to be found and returned to their homes. While a collar tag contains your pet’s name and telephone number, a microchip provides permanent identification readable by animal shelters or veterinary clinics.
Microchipping is not foolproof, but it does reduce the heartache and worry in case your pet runs off amid the celebration.
Lastly, keep calm
Your dog or cat exhibits signs of distress, such as panting, salivating, or pacing. That’s why it’s essential that you stick to them during this stressful moment. More importantly, calm yourself and act like you always do.
If your pet wants to hide under the table or be cuddled, respond accordingly. Keep your voice low and quiet, and try not to fuss too much. The best that you can do is to let on that everything is normal and under control.
Let your dog know that he did great throughout the ordeal and reinforce this behaviour with unique gifts like treats, toys, and bandanas. You’ll find them in one dog box that your dapper boy can appreciate. There’s a theme for each pack to celebrate summer and holidays whose fanfare, including fireworks, you know well now how to handle for your pet’s sake.
Thank you for reading.
*Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post*