Here are some tips on helping your puppy or dog not become anxious of fireworks. Many of these tips can also be used to help with Thunder Storms and other noises.Dogs and Fireworks – Anxiety.
If you dog or puppy has server anxiety always seek professional advice. It is much easier to nip things in the bud than let them develop into a more serious issue. Try these tips and don’t ignore any problems as they tend to get worse and more difficult to solve.
I know a dog who was scared of fireworks and then thunder, which then developed into being petrified of thunder. This then developed into a phobia of heavy rain (as there tended to be rain with thunder storms), which then developed into a fear of light rain. The poor dog was a nervous wreck. This was an extreme case, but an example of ignoring a simple issue.
Living in Hastings and St Leonards, we have massive fire work displays on November 5th and we have the amazing Hastings Borough Bonfire Society, so dogs down here must be firework friendly.
Then there is New Years Eve, another time where there will be fireworks.
Its obvious, but please don’t take your dogs to fire work displays. All those people and all that noise, its just not a nice experience for the average dog.
Dogs and Fireworks – Anxiety
By far the best way to train your dog not to be anxious about fireworks is to train them as a puppy. Up to the age of about 9 months its fairly simple to get your puppy used to new sounds and situations. It is possible to train a dog after this age, but it tends to be more difficult. There are some older dogs that have been so traumatised by the noise of fireworks it becomes very difficult to get them over the sounds. Dogs and Fireworks – Anxiety, I will go over some tips on how to easy their anxiety, but if it is server you should speak to your vet and maybe get in a dog behaviour specialist.
This is when you desensitise puppies and dogs to sounds in a safe environment ensuring that they do not get anxious or scared later on in life. It can be fireworks, thunder, hoovers, trains, emergency services sirens, hair dryers, vacuums etc
This is best done when they are a young puppy and months before you expect them to hear them.
How to use Sound Therapy
Play these sounds very quietly while supervising your puppy and going around your every day activities. Start while playing with your puppy or feeding it to distract the dog (but never while it sleeps).
Do not react to any of the sounds or if your puppy looks anxious, distract the puppy.
Surreptitiously watch your puppy or dog. If it shows now sighs of anxiety increase the volume slightly. Puppies learn by observing your body language. If you show any signs of anxiety your pup will pick it up and to become scared of the sounds. If you see the pup suddenly looks around or looks shocked, turn the volume down a little, carry on as normal and distract your pup. Talk cheerfully and loudly to your puppy.
Choose a days when there is not too much excitement going on, like when visitors are there or if the dog is super excited.
How long does it take?
Each dog is different. It can takes a few days or can take weeks. It depends how often you do it. If you have the time, try and play the sounds three times a day to your dog, but don’t rush it and push your dog back.
Anxiety – the signs
You will know when your pet is unhappy it will act differently. The most obvious are shaking, cowering, tail between its legs and panting. You may also see drooling, excessive licking, unable to settle, hiding, ears pinned back.
Bruce. Fire works? What fire works?
Older and more anxious dogs
If your dog is already very anxious of firework sounds, sometimes sound therapy can make it worse, to speak to a qualified dog behaviourist or your vet.
- Even dogs that are used to fireworks, loud bangs can still be an unpleasant experience.
- Tire your dog our in the day. Extra long walks and play to make it exhausted so it sleeps all night.
- Walk your dog before dusk.
- Make Sure your dog has been micro chipped and is wearing dog tag.
- Close windows and have a nice den for your dog, If they have been crate trained leave the door open in case they want to go in.
- Make some noise in your home with the TV, Radio or music.
- Lead by example and remain clam and cheerful, happy chatty to your dog.
- If you dog is very anxious and comes to you, cheerfully talk to your dog and try to distract it by playing with it.
- Remember your dog is looking at you to see how you are reacting, remain clam and relaxed.
These are jackets that fit snugly around dogs. The warm and constant pressure can help some dogs with server anxiety. They are commonly knows as “Thunder Jackets” and yes they can be used when there are thunder storms also.
Your vet can prescribe medication for dogs who suffer from extreme anxiety. Dogs and Fireworks – Anxiety, ask your vet.
This is becoming more popular now. These pheromones reportedly can help clam dogs down in times of anxiety. They come in sprays and plug in wall devices. Many people say that they help with fireworks, thunderstorms, new homes and separation anxiety.
Again, if your dog is very anxious speak to your vet. They can offer advice and help find a solution. They can also help you find a qualified behaviourist if necessary.