Firework season will be upon us again before we know it. November 5th is on a Sunday this year, Diwali falls on Sunday, 12 Nov New Year's Eve also falls on a Sunday . Some dogs get really worried by the noise, smells & flashes.... but with a little preparation & effort on your part, it can be a lot easier for them. If you have a puppy, or young dog, with no prior experience of fireworks, you have a blank canvas with which to work. Your dog can be taught that fireworks are a positive, rewarding thing !!! Firstly.....prepare.
Check microchip details & I.D tags are up to date ( if the worst happens & a scared dog escapes they are much easier to reunite) Ensure your dog is walked before dusk, but be alert to possible daytime fireworks. Draw the curtains earlier. Raise the volume on TV's & radios slightly. Pop the heating up a wee bit higher. Feed a meal higher in carbs....it has the effect of us eating a heavy meal & just wanting to snooze. (Sweet potato is ideal for this, boiled & mashed, it's a natural calmer) Try & keep everything as normal as possible. Whenever I have a pup or young dog, at the 1st sound of fireworks I start a training session indoors, loads of treats, lots of praise, doing things the dog knows well (this isn't the time to try & teach a new behaviour) If your dog stops & listens, that's completely normal (Don't forget their hearing is incredibly sensitive) If they want to run off & hide, let them. If they want to go outside & watch, let them, as long as it's safe for them & they are free to come back in (Go outside with them) All dogs react differently !! Older dogs that may have been ok all their lives, can react as they get older. It's because of changes in their hearing. They lose mid-range ability & only hear really high, or really low sounds (Making fireworks & thunderstorms more audible.) START NOW Preparation really is the key to avoiding a stressed pet. The Zylkene website HERE has some excellent, free sound resources, which you can play to accustom your pet to the noise & create a positive association. Zylkene is made from natural ingredients & helps relax pets at times they are finding stressful. An ADAPTIL collar or diffuser is another option, which works the same way. Many people also swear by music to calm their dogs. There are lots of free options online THIS is a good one (tested by my own dogs) If over the counter products aren't working, or your dog has been scared & anxious in previous years, please see your vet as early as possible. By taking the stress away a dog can eventually overcome its fear.