Fireworks & Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night, can be a very traumatic time for many dogs. The loud bangs and flashes created by fireworks are often very frightening for them, making them stressed and unpredictable, potentially putting their safety at risk.
With around 40% of the UK’s dogs being scared of fireworks, many owners often need to plan ahead and take steps to help keep their dog calm and safe.
Why do fireworks scare dogs?
Fireworks can be frightening to dogs because of the loud bangs, the flashing lights and unpleasant strong smell of spent explosives. With multiple bangs occurring from numerous displays, dogs will rarely be able to pinpoint where the booming explosions are coming from. Not knowing what an explosion is, where it’s coming from, or where and when the next one is going to be must be truly terrifying for some dogs.
Noise aversion can also be influenced by breed, age and sex. Even the way your dog reacts to loud sounds could be partly controlled by their genetics, with research showing that German Shepherd Dogs are more likely to pace when stressed, while Border Collies and Australian Cattle Dogs are more likely to hide.
Are fireworks too loud for dogs?
Dogs are renowned for having an incredible sense of smell, but their hearing is remarkable too. Dogs can hear sounds that are four times further away than we can, and can also detect significantly higher frequencies. A dog’s acute sense of hearing means that loud noises that are tolerable to us might be uncomfortable and unpleasant to them.
Can dogs be traumatized by fireworks?
It’s natural for a dog to be wary of loud noises, particularly if they don’t know what the noise is, or where it’s coming from. Evolution has hard-wired dogs with incredible survival instincts, and loud unexpected noises can trigger a fight-or-flight response. Your dog’s reaction to loud noises is largely determined by their personality and past experiences. If your dog was scared by fireworks once, then chances are, they will remember it and be scared again.
Before the fireworks begin – helping your dog cope
- Top up your dog’s water bowl. Anxious dogs pant more and get thirsty
- Feed your dog a while before you expect any disturbances. Once the fireworks start, your dog may be too anxious to eat
- Walk your dog before dusk. It may be some time before it’s safe to venture outside again for your dog to relieve themselves. Always make sure that your garden is escape proof, just in case a firework goes off when you take them into the garden to go to the toilet
- Make sure you shut all doors and windows in your home and don’t forget to draw the curtains. This will block out any scary flashes of light and reduce the noise level of fireworks. Don’t forget to block off cat flaps to stop dogs (and cats) escaping
- Make a safe den for your dog to retreat to if they feel scared. Make sure to fill it with their favourite blankets, toys, or an item of unwashed clothing, as these may help them feel safe
How do I calm my dogs down during fireworks?
- Distract your dog from the noise by having the TV or the radio switched on
- Try to act and behave as normal, as your dog will pick up on any odd behaviour. Remain calm, happy and cheerful as this will send positive signals to your dog
- Your dog might choose to hide under the bed or behind furniture; if they come to you for comfort, make sure that you give it to them. Ignoring your dog would only make things worse as they wouldn’t understand your withdrawal from them
- Always reward calm behaviour with dog treats or playing
- Never try to force your dog to face their fears – they’ll just become more frightened
- Never try and tempt them out if they do retreat, as this may cause more stress
- Never tell your dog off. This will only make your pet more distressed. It is important to remember that it is natural for a dog to be scared of loud noises and unfamiliar sights and sounds
- If you need to open the front door, shut your dog safely inside a room first
Can dogs go to fireworks displays?
Never take your dog to a firework display, even if your dog does not bark or whimper, don’t assume he or she is happy. Excessive yawning and panting can indicate that your dog is stressed
Also, never tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off
What can I give my dog for fireworks anxiety?
If you’ve previously tried everything and your dog is still stressed then consult your vet. If you are considering giving your dog any remedies or medications to help them cope with stress during fireworks, always speak to your vet if your dog has any health problems, or is taking any medication, and always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
Altho there are lots of information online… it’s not always suited to every dog. We find closing all doors and windows will dull sound… keep radio or TV on loud always helps. We do use a calming spray that is fully natural and helps pets to relax… seems to work wonders!!!
Calming Floral Spray by Vita Canis
Vita Canis Calming Floral Spray has a natural calming and balancing quality, therefore providing ultimate relaxation for your dog.
This vegan and cruelty free blend of essential oils and hydrosols, helps your dog to deal with stress the natural way.
Calming Floral Spray is great for firework fear, motion sickness, adjusting to new environments, visits to vets and dog groomers.
Highly recommended by dog professionals.
It’s all hand made by one of our close friends and the results are amazing!
There is a link below… but do have a read on all products… as we use all of them ourselves for our home and dogs.