- Fireworks cause distress to millions of pets every year
- Dogs are sensitive to noise due to highly developed, acute hearing
- LV= offers a guide to how to prevent stress for your dog during firework season
The crash, bang and wallop of fireworks – what's not to love about Bonfire Night? Well, if you're the family dog, not a great deal.
That's because, in general, pets are anxious, stressed and upset when they hear and see fireworks; studies have shown household pets to demonstrate emotions of fear when exposed to them.
Animal charity, Blue Cross, has explained one of the key reasons for this is down to biology: most dogs have 'very acute hearing' and, as such, are more sensitive to loud noises.
It's not just the roaring thump at the end of a firework that causes pain; the whistle of the firework shooting up into the air can also cause distress.
Our guide offers an overview of how you can look after the health and wellbeing of your beloved pooch during any display of fireworks so that when it comes to late October and early November, everyone can have a rather grand time.
First things first
The first port of call should be a visit to your local vet. This is especially the case where you've noticed that your dog really struggles with fireworks.
The RSPCA explains that your vet may, for example, prescribe you with pheromone diffusers specific to dogs or refer you to a clinical animal behaviourist.
This may be worth exploring, as the animal welfare charity states that 'firework phobia' is a treatable condition. You could try some sound therapy at home too: CDs of ‘scary sounds' are readily available and are designed to help your furry companions get used to the sounds of whistles, whooshes, cracks and bangs.
Ideas to help calm your dog
- If you are attending an event or setting off fireworks in your back garden, you should make sure that your dog is safely indoors with no way of getting out.
- Adapt your walking times during fireworks season, so that your canine companion is not unduly exposed to unnerving sounds.
- Close all relevant doors, windows, blinds and curtains so that external sights and sounds are reduced.
- Don't turn off your TV or radio. If your dog is used to having these on during the evening, it will go a long way to keeping things as normal as possible and it will act as a buffer against the sound of fireworks.
- Be patient with your dog if he is in distress. Let him whine, pace around and find a 'safe spot' that he feels comfortable in. The idea is to make your dog feel at ease, as if everything is normal.
- Don't cuddle or comfort your dog above what you normally would. This will exacerbate the problem.
It goes without saying that should your dog accidentally get out during the firework season and get injured, make sure you have the local vet, pet hospital and your insurance company details to hand so that you can get help as quickly as possible.
Got cats? We've come up with some top tips to look after your cat on Bonfire Night too.