Fireworks Safety and Your Dog

dogs-scared-of-fireworks-300x211-150x150It’s that time of year again. Halloween and Bonfire Night have rolled around bringing excitement, loud bangs and whizzes and yummy sweet treats for us all. Unfortunately while we love this time of year, for our poor pets it can be terrifying.

Stranger Danger

Halloween is the time of year when we throw noisy parties and we don’t mind opening our doors to ghoulishly-clad strangers, but bear in mind your dog may react to a stranger’s knock in ways you don’t expect. He may try to run out of the door in panic or he could even try to attack the person on your doorstep.

If Fido is frightened of noise, whether it’s loud music or fireworks, take steps beforehand to keep him calm. Walk him during the day before any fireworks start. Give him a place of his own in a quiet part of the house. You could build a den for him so he has somewhere to hide. Leave a radio playing quietly in the background to distract him from outside noises. Make sure he is left undisturbed but do calmly check on him at intervals.

Desensitisation and Security

Dogs’ Trust has produced a Sound Therapy for Pets download – available through their website – which can help to desensitise your dog to loud noises before they occur. Even if your dog is ok with firework noise keep him indoors when fireworks are being let off to avoid accidents occurring.

Consider buying a Thundershirt. These have become popular in recent years for dogs. This is a snug-fitting coat which works by making the dog feel secure, similar to swaddling for babies. Thundershirts are available in pet stores and online.

Adaptil sprays, plug-ins and diffusers contain pheromones which can help to calm an anxious dog but if your pet suffers excessively then your vet can advise you on whether a short-term sedative might be appropriate.

Keep the Sweet Treats Away

Whilst kids and adults alike adore chocolate, cakes and sweets these are very bad for our dogs. Chocolate contains Theobromine which causes occasionally fatal increased heart rate, seizures, vomiting and other nasty effects. Cakes and sweets contain sugar or other sweeteners which can cause behavioural issues as well as health problems. So keep all sweet treat away from the dog. Watch out for wrapping papers too as swallowing lots of plastic wrappers may end up in a visit to the vet.

As always, preparation and common sense will make for a happy firework season for you and your dog!