How to manage dogs and fireworks
Prepare – Stay safe – Get comfy – Relax
The best thing you can do for your pup is prepare.
Spotify and YouTube have plenty of soundbites of fireworks – those all too recognisable high-pitched squeals followed by a loud bang. Prepare your pooch by playing these soundtracks through a speaker at home, and do something fun at the same time.
You’ll want to start with a low volume. If your dog is looking around / noticing the sound and not interacting with you because they’re distracted by the noise, the volume is too loud. Starting with a lower volume means you can slowly desensitise them to the sounds, and gradually turn the volume up over a few sessions if you can see they are getting more comfortable.
A crowd favourite in my house is to scatter feed to the sound of fireworks – i.e. scatter food all across the floor and let them sniff and find the little morsels while the noise is happening. Thus, creating a positive association with the sound of fireworks!
The important focus here is safety and comfort. If your dog has a fear of fireworks, you’ll want to take extra precautions.
Firstly, ensure your dog cannot escape your house. A very fearful dog may try to run or hide, and if they are really panicking, may not like even their owners approaching. It is an unfortunate fact that dogs do go missing during firework season because they are running to escape the noises. Make your garden is secure, as well as windows and doors.
Secondly, while fireworks are happening, keep your dog indoors. Create a space for them where they can hide – crates are particularly useful for this. If they’re not well crate trained, don’t lock the door as they may suddenly panic and try to escape the crate. It’s great to have the option there as it will be a nice cosy den-like space for them to snuggle into. Limit the amount of space they can run around, try to keep them in a room with you if possible.
Now we come to comfort! Lavender scents are safe for dogs and generally a calming scent, so if you have a diffuser or an oil burner, try popping some on. Fetch Club Shop have some gorgeously scented and eco-friendly wax melts specifically made to help with calming dogs in stock, so if you order some ahead of time, those would be perfect for the task.
Again, YouTube is our friend here as there are videos online that go on for hours and hours, which specifically play calming music for dogs during firework season! If you’re more of a radio fan, Classic FM are running their yearly special, namely Pet Classics, from 5pm to 9pm on the 4th and 5th of November.
Stay with your dog, cosy up with some warm blankets, and if they’re in the mood, maybe try letting them work their way through a nice filled kong or some goodies from one of our dog treat boxes.
If your furry friend got really scared of the fireworks, you’ll want to proceed gently with them for the next few days. Be cautious about allowing your dog off lead during walks. If there happens to be a lorry go past in the distance and it makes a loud bang, it might spook them.
Consider having a few days where your dog gets on-lead walks and use a long line if you think they really need a run. Take it easy with them and consider that their fight or flight response will have sent their internal chemical balance all over the place, which will take a few days to calm back down.
Fun, interactive games at home when they’re in a comfortable environment and encouraging plenty of rest even during the daytime will really help them recover.