It is the worst night of the year for some dog owners. Seeing their pet terrified beyond belief by the constant explosions of the fireworks. Some owners must go so far as to take days off work in order to take their dogs to the vet and have them sedated to get them through the night with minimal distress.
Prepare Your Dog For Bonfire Night & NYE?
Thankfully there are more products and methods available to ensure that your dog can get through bonfire night.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone
DAP or Dog Appeasing Pheromone comes in diffuser or spray. It is a synthetic copy of a pheromone released by a bitch 2 to 3 days after she gives birth to calm her pups. A lot of people have recommended this as an ideal product to use for dogs who suffer anxiety on bonfire night.
Thundershirts apply mild pressure similar to that of a blanket wrapped around a baby in order to reduce anxiety in dogs. These shirts are used by dog trainers, veterinarians, and other dog professionals and come highly recommended. However, it is important you ensure that you get the correct size for your dog.
Veterinary Sedation is generally used for severe cases of anxiety. Speaking to your veterinary surgeon will let you know the best course of action you can take to cope with your dog’s anxiety.
Music & CD
You can buy CDs that play bonfire sounds and there are videos on youtube which play the sounds of fireworks too. Playing them before bonfire night at a low level in the background while playing with your dog or training him is ideal because then he associates the noises with something positive.
Prevent Dog Distress During Fireworks
There are other measures you can take to ensure that your dog has a comfortable bonfire night and gets through it with minimal distress.
Taking your dog for a long walk before dark so he can relieve himself but also let him run around. Play games with him to tire him out.
If you do not use a crate then create a little den for your dog. Your dog will feel safer in his own little space which is why crate training is very handy. Use blankets to make a blanket fort of sorts and put your dog’s toys in there, give him some treats to show him that the area is a safe place and he doesn’t need to worry about it.
Keep the TV or radio on so there is another noise for the dog to hear rather than the explosions. Studies have shown that dogs are soothed to classical music, so it might be worth turning the radio on to classical FM to help your four-legged friend.
Ensure that you keep all windows and doors closed on bonfire night to reduce the sounds. Closing the curtains is also a good idea as this will prevent the flashes from scaring him too.
Some trainers tell you to ignore your dog when he/she is scared. If your dog comes to you for comfort then give it to them. Your dog will not understand and will become more anxious if they are being ignored when they’re already scared out of their wits.
Dogs who suffer from anxiety pant a lot more. Ensure that their water bowl is filled up so they can have a drink when they need it.
What To Never Do!
Just as there are measures you should take to ensure your dog is comfortable. There are also things you should never do.
- Don’t take your dog along to a fireworks display. Even if he’s ok in the house, it’s a totally different scenario when those explosions are very close and the flashing is not that far away.
- Ensure that your dog has an ID tag and that microchip details are up to date. It’s better to be prepared in case your dog escapes during bonfire night.
- Never leave your dog tied up outside on bonfire night. This will cause your dog a great deal of distress and will do more harm than good.
- Yelling at your dog will have a detrimental effect and will make your dog not only fearful of fireworks but also fearful of you. He/She will not understand why they are being yelled at. Consider how you would feel if something scared you and someone then started yelling at you for being scared? It wouldn’t be pleasant.
- No matter how secure your garden is, take your dog out on a leash when they need to go outside. A scared dog will do anything to get as far away from the scary noises as they can.
Unfortunately, it is a night that all dog owners must deal with. However, with patience and taking action by following the above steps. You will help your dog overcome his anxiety and make bonfire night a little easier on him.