A lot of dogs can often become spooked by the loud cracks and bangs of fireworks which often reach up to 120 decibels. This is as loud as a nearby chainsaw! It’s no wonder that dogs can become scared. A dog can hear higher frequencies, meaning they can often hear noises humans can’t!
As a hearing aid user you have the option to remove your hearing aids to reduce the loud noises of the fireworks, but still enjoy the impressive light displays. Your dog doesn’t have this option available and will be alert to all of the sounds. A nervous dog will display traits which are different from their usual day to day personality; here is what to look out for.
How to tell if your dog is nervous during fireworks:
- They may bark a lot more than usual
- They may start to tremble and shake or hide in corners, try to reassure them
- They may pant excessively and salivate a lot more than usual. Make sure they have access to clean drinking water.
- Pacing and not knowing where to lie down is a common sign of anxiety/nervousness.
- It is not uncommon for a nervous dog to have an accident or display destructive behaviour, keep breakable items out of the way.
- Yawning is a common trait of a nervous dog
- Scratching and nipping themselves. They aren’t itchy but they may develop a rash or skin irritation through this nervous habit.
- They may refuse to eat. Keep some food down for them and offer them treats.
We spoke to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and they gave us some great tips to share on how to keep your dog safe and calm during fireworks.
Find out what’s going on
Check with your local council for where and when the local firework displays are being held. Ask your neighbours if they are planning on having a private garden display.
Keep your dog busy
Distraction is great technique to occupy your dog from the outdoor noise. Try playing retrieving games or trick training. Have some tasty treats and fun toys on standby. Keep rewarding your dog with verbal praise..
Wrap them up!
Wrapping your dog in a blanket, in much the same way as a crying baby, is often found to reduce anxiety due to a light constant pressure. There are also specialist thunder jackets you can purchase either online or from a local pet store.
Wrap your dog up before, during, and after the firework display and help reduce symptoms of anxiety such as shaking, panting, drooling, and hiding.
If your dog chooses to remove the blankets, don’t force him to have them on. It may feel strange to your dog at first and they may feel too warm after a while. Don’t leave them on their own.
Make a Safe Zone
An anxious dog likes to have a place it feels safe, it’s important to create them a cosy den.
Make a covered den in the centre of the house, away from windows and walls, with easy access in and out. Place a comfy bed inside, with extra blankets for him to burrow in, plus a selection of tasty treats and some favourite toys
Put the radio on and tune into a classical channel – dogs find this relaxing!
Try not to fuss but be aware
It’s ok to support your dog if he is scared. Allow him to try and settle where he feels comfortable. Over fussing or yelling at your dog will heighten his senses and he may think there is a problem. Act as relaxed as you can.
Fireworks will begin when it is dark so take your dog out for his nighty walk before dusk. This will relax him and relieve his toilet requirements. If you think he needs to be taken out again, wait until the fireworks have finished and keep him on a lead.
Forgive your Friend
A scared dog can be a destructive dog; he won’t mean to accidently knock over a vase or go to the toilet on your new rug. Getting angry will only make the situation worse, so keep calm.
Secure your home
Your dog may look for an escape route from your home. Lock your doors and windows as you usually would, but have one last check to ensure your dog does not have an escape route. Block off any unsafe areas which you may think he could get into.
Draw the Curtains
It’s not just the noise; flashing lights may also startle your dog. Keep your curtains closed and turn the lights on in some rooms and keep it dark in others. He will decide where he feels most comfortable.
Finally, be there for your dog!
He is there for you when you need him most. Keep him company through the evening and we strongly advise your furry friend should not attend a firework display.
If you do find your dog’s fears worsen, contact your local vet for further advice. If you have a Hearing Dog contact your Hearing Dog representative.
For more information about Hearing Dogs please visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk