How to Keep your Dog Calm During Fireworks

According to the PDSA, 40% of dog owners say their pet is afraid of fireworks, which means the big events of the year often leave your dog cowering under the sofa, in the bathtub, or beneath the bed covers. Signs of anxiety include wide eyes, flattened ears and excessive panting – all of which can be upsetting for humans to see. While there’s no simple cure for firework fear, there are a few steps you can take to help reassure your pooch.

dogs fireworks

PLAN YOUR WALK

Check for any nearby firework displays, and make sure your dog has had their walk before they get started – especially as the loud bangs can scare pets into bolting if they’re outside. The Blue Cross recommends making sure your pet is microchipped and the info is up to date, just in case they do make a bid for freedom.S

STAY INSIDE

It might sound obvious but anxious dogs are best kept inside with the doors firmly shut, if there are fireworks going off. Not only is it quieter indoors, but this means there’s no chance for them to panic and run off. Being confined to one room can make worried dogs even more distressed, so make sure they’re free to move around the house.

CREATE A DEN

Having a safe spot to hide in can help relax your pooch. This might mean making a favourite spot (like under the sofa) even more comfortable with blankets and some of your clothes – the smell can help calm your dog. Draw your curtains so pets won’t be startled by the bright light and flashes of fireworks, and give them a long-lasting chew to help distract.

Noise cancelling kennel by Ford

Ford (yes, the car company) just created a prototype for a noise-cancelling kennel that gives scared pups a safe place to hide. Mics inside the kennel detect the sound of fireworks and counteract it with opposing frequencies, thereby cancelling the sound out. It’s still in its early stages, but this kennel suggests that more high tech solutions are on the way to help anxious dogs.

dogs fireworks

SPEAK SOFTLY

Try not to alarm your dog further by using baby talk or making a fuss. It’s best to speak in a low calm voice, and rest a reassuring hand on them.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

There’s divided opinion over whether it works, but Spotify has several playlists of dog-calming music. This can disguise the noise outside a little, and help soothe your pup. Having the TV on can also help, as it’s a familiar background sound for your pet.

TRY SUPPLEMENTS

Vets can prescribe calming medication if your dog is extra anxious, but there’s also some natural alternatives available– such as Lintbells YuCALM. Adaptil plugins, which spread Dog Appeasing Pheromone, can also make your pooch less anxious.

DO SOUND THERAPY

If you already know that fireworks make your dog anxious, you can gradually get them used to the sounds beforehand by playing firework noises. This can take weeks, or even months, and involves gradually increasing the sound until your dog’s familiar with it. Be careful not to go too quickly, and always reduce the noise if your pet starts showing signs of anxiety.

Does your dog struggle with fireworks? Do you have some useful tips? Share them with us in the comments below.

Emma Tucker is a London-based writer and editor, who's been covering all things design-related for the past six years. After studying English Literature she spent several years working at magazines including Dezeen and Creative Review, before going freelance. Emma's now a regular contributor to several magazines, including The Spaces and Pitch, and also works with design brands on copywriting and editorial projects. On a day-to-day basis she's assisted by puppy PA and cockapoo Bear.

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