’Tis the season to be jolly, the silly season, the time of goodwill to all creatures big and small, including the family dog.
But what if it’s actually the season to be terrified for your much-loved family pet? What if, those ‘pop pop pops’ he hears as the sky lights up with a dazzling display of colour actually send him into a panic? A complete and utter meltdown?
Yes, it’s fireworks season and for many four-legged canines it’s a time of great fear and terror, one in which he will seek to be near you or to hide in the dark and cower, afraid and shaking in the corner covered in drool.
While this time of year is one in which we rejoice, for these dogs it’s a time to recoil. So, what can we do to make our dogs more comfortable and get them through such a challenging period?
Here are 5 quick tips to ease their panic:
- Ensure your dog is inside the house. Sadly, when left outside, panic can make dogs so fearful the only thing they can think to do is escape and go on the run thereby placing themselves in danger of being killed on the roads or becoming lost.
- If your dog is inside, place them somewhere they feel safe. For some this might be a dark cupboard they can access at will, or a crate created to feel like a den. Make sure they have plenty of water and comfy blankets.
- Stay home. If you don’t need to go out, stay home with your dog. They need to know you are there to help them feel safe.
- Mask outside noises. While it’s not the easiest thing to do, it’s worth at least trying to mask the outside noise by shutting windows, turning on fans and putting on music or the TV (provided there are no fireworks on!) etc. You can also put on dog anti-anxiety or calming music provided you have previously conditioned the dog to the music, and they associate it with relaxation. Other options include grey, pink or brown noise depending on what your dog likes best.
- Visit your vet before fireworks night and ask for a situational medication and provide this at least an hour before the light show starts.
There’s nothing more upsetting then watching our dogs in distress but there are things we can do to make them more comfortable and help them get through the night.