5 Tips To Keep Your Dogs Calm Around Fireworks
It's extremely common and totally normal for our fluffy family members to get a little (or a lot) out of sorts when there's fireworks around. With 45% of dogs in the UK showing signs of fear when they hear those loud bangs, it's useful for us pup-parents to understand and be aware as to why they behave like this, and more importantly, how we can help them.
While we cannot change this behaviour altogether, as it is embedded in their natural 'danger' response to such events the same way we may be afraid of heights or deep water, we can help to decrease their anxiety levels on nights like this.
How can you tell if your dog is stressed, nervous or frightened?
Spotting these common signs of anxiety in your dog is the first step to help measure the level of anxiety they may be experiencing, and what actions you can take. Here are some behavioural signs to look out for, particularly around firework nights:
- Your dog maybe huddling up to you or even clinging to you
- You can see your dog is shaking or trembling
- Your dog's ears are pinned back
- Your dog may be hiding or cowering
- Your dog is continuously barking or whining
- Pacing, panting and even drooling can be signs of anxiety
- Peeing or pooing inside the house even though they are trained
As much as these are common signs to spot, you know your dog more than anyone so trust your intuition and you'll know if your dog is seemingly distressed or disorientated.
Now that we know what to look for when our dogs may be feeling anxious, here are five tips to help keep them calm around fireworks. 'Keep calm and howl on' will hopefully be your takeaway along with some suppawt to get you through this stressful time for both you, and your dogs.
Tip #1 - Create a safe environment
Ways to create a safe and secure environment can be:
- Setting up a crate or den for your dogs to lie down and/or hide in if they need to
- Tables with big blankets draped over make great, cosy dens!
- Have lots of cushions in the den or crate for them to nestle into
- Don't lock them in the crate, leave the door open for them to come and go as they please - this also prevents them from feeling trapped in an 'alert' scenario such as fireworks night
It is important not to confine your dog to just one room, so leave doors open for them to go in and out of rooms if possible as sometimes they may wonder around the house trying to find a spot they feel most comfortable in. Equally, you want to avoid your dog going outside during firework displays, as this may trigger them. So lots of wee wees and poo poos outside before night time ascends - pawfect!
Tip #2 - Enrichment
Keep 'em busy! Keeping our pups busy during firework nights are essential in helping to keep their minds off of what is happening outside. Enriching activities can include dog puzzles, playing with their favourite toys, balls, ball games, and of course long-lasting CHEW CHEWS.
If you're looking for an activity, we've got just the ticket - here's a link to our post with a simple DIY doggy-spawt that you can try at home with your pups. Check it out here!
Tip #3 - Mental Stimulation
Forests and wooded areas can be ideal places for mental stimulation as there are LOTS of interesting smells to sniff and investigate.
So let 'em sniff and have longer walkies with lots of mental stimulation to ease their anxiety later that evening when the fireworks take place.
Tip #4 - Pheromones
Pheromones can help to relax our dogs and can be a real woof-saver when there are fireworks on display. We use Adaptil for Milo, one of our Pup Republic fluffy CEOs, which works really well to calm him during times of stress and high alert such as firework's night. You can even use a diffuser for pets that helps to ease their nerves, WOW!
Tip #5 - Curtains, Lights & Music
Drawing curtains, leaving the lights on and playing calming music can be pawsitively calming for your dogs on firework's night.
Draw the curtains so your pups aren't able to see the firework displays that might set them off, and be sure to leave lights on in the rooms they are in so that they are reassured by the fact that there's nothing to harm them in the room.
Playing calming music such as classical music at a volume that drowns out any firework bangs can be a simple yet extremely effective way to keep them calm. But be sure not to play the music too loud that it scares your dog, look at their face and body language to gage a volume that they seem comfortable with, yet that drowns out the bangs.
There you have it!
Five ways to keep your pups nice and calm during firework events which we hope you have found useful. Did we mention that lots of snuggles, love and affection are dynamo for relaxing them too? Well, don't forget those! We would also suggest not reacting to fireworks in a way that might 'reassure' any anxious behaviour such as gasping, shouting, or loud noises.
If your dog is experiencing ongoing or recurring nervous behaviour, it is a great idea to address this with your vet and/or professional dog behavioural specialist for a long-term solution.
Here are some additional resources to help you get everything you need ready for firework nights: