Is your dog scared of fireworks or thunderstorms?
Phobias to loud noises such as fireworks are very common and often get worse as the animal ages. Early intervention is the key to stopping it becoming a serious problem. Comforting your pet (the natural response) is actually the wrong thing to do as it rewards the dog for behaving anxiously.
Here are some tips to help them cope:
- Ensure your dog is safely inside and secure the doors, windows and cat flaps.
- Allow your dog to hide in a bolt-hole or den where they feel safe. You can further increase this feeling of security by plugging in a DAP® diffuser or using DAP® spray (this can be sprayed onto a bandanna tied around your dog’s neck or sprayed onto their bedding to give them additional support). DAP is a pheromone that has a calming effect. Adaptil Collars are now available which have the DAP impregnated on them. They are a great option for outdoor dogs.
- Make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing an identification tag on their collar. If they do escape, frightened animals can easily get lost.
- In the few days before the fireworks and on the night walk your dog early in the evening.
- Close all doors, windows and draw the curtains, play music and/or have the tv on to help mask the noise of fireworks.
- Ignore any fearful behaviour and do not try to comfort your pet. A dog may pick up on your anxiety or feel they are being rewarded and this can make the problem worse.
- Don’t get angry with or punish your pet, regardless of their behaviour. It will only make them more distressed.
- Try not to leave your pet alone when fireworks are going off. Pets may hurt themselves or cause damage when not supervised.
If your dog has alot of anxiety
If your pet has shown severe anxiety before such as trying to escape, or actually escaping, have hurt themselves or have put themselves in danger, your dog needs to be medicated. Arrange a visit to have your dog assessed for the use of anti-anxiety medications.