Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Dogs and Fireworks ~ Firework Phobia ~ What You Can Do

As Featured On EzineArticlesFear of fireworks - tips on how to help your dog.

It will soon be Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night,
Diwali, then Christmas and New
Year. Not forgetting private parties! So fireworks galore!

I like fireworks - unfortunately many dogs don't!
One of my greyhounds isn't bothered, but the other is frightened of them (and other loud noises). The dogs always come first.

One year we had fireworks going off very close to our house. They started very early and we were caught unawares. They lasted until quite late. Olive was fine, but poor Boris was terrified. He curled up in his bed and SHOOK with fear.
I gave him Bach Rescue Remedy which helped him. He stopped shaking and his heart became quieter. We also had the TV on quite loud to drown out the noise.
He refused to eat until very late (well after the fireworks had finished).

The majority of dogs are frightened, and some are absolutely terrified by fireworks.
Dogs hearing is much more sensitive than ours, so the problem is magnified.
They are also very aware of preparations, so watch your dogs closely for signs of stress (see further down for a list)
Dogs and fireworks should be on different planets!

You can help your dog with Firework phobia and other loud noise fears.
This can be done with desensitisation and management methods.

So what can we do?
  • Walk your dog before the fireworks start - do not take them out after they have started - your dog needs to be settled in advance. Please don't take them to a display - this will only make things worse. Make sure that he empties himself.
  • Feed your dog early, but don't worry if food is refused.
  • Make a secure, safe place for your dog. This can be done by placing his bed behind a sofa. Being in a quiet, dark corner with familiar things is very comforting to a dog.
  • Make sure he cannot escape from the house. Be vigilant and careful with doors. Dogs think that the explosions are inside the house and will want to get outside to escape them! Keep his collar on with home details attached, just in case! Don't let him out on his own.
  • Close windows doors, curtains. This will reduce noise levels and mask flashes. Play music. Classical music has been shown to have a calming effect. Or put the TV on loud.
  • Do NOT reward your dog - No treats, reassurance, or petting! It will reassure your pet if you ignore the noises.
  • Distraction. Play with your dog. This can be a good distraction. It can also help if there is a non-fearful companion animal with them.
  • I've used Bach Rescue Remedy on my dogs with some success. Give just before the noise starts! Repeat as per instructions on the bottle.
  • Other Herbal Remedies like Valerian (liquid or tablets) and Skullcap can help. Consult your vet if your dog is on medication.
  • Desensitisation. CDs are available which help to deal with the your dog's fears.They are available for fireworks, thunder, and gunshots. The CDs come with instructions - it is a gradual method of increasing noise level. It is important that your dog doesn't show signs of fear during use.You can buy a firework phobia CD set here Sounds Scary Fireworks 2 CD Pack
  • DAP -dog appeasment pheromone. This is a plug-in diffuser -it has a calming effect. It is also available as a spray. Start using it before the fireworks start.
  • In very severe cases of fear, it could be worthwhile to consult your vet or a dog behavourist.
  • Look out for signs of stress (see list below)
I've looked around and found these useful products - just click on the links to see for yourself.
Click on this link for Bach Rescue Remedy
Click on this link for DAP

Click on this link for
Sounds Scary Fireworks 2 CD Pack


Look out for Signs of Stress
The following are all symptoms of distress

  • trembling or shaking
  • restlessness or pacing
  • panting
  • whining
  • barking
  • hiding
  • destructiveness
  • attention seeking
  • trying to escape
  • messing or urinating in the house
  • refusing food
Please remember : DO NOT take your dog to a fireworks display. This will NOT cure his fear, it will only make matters worse!
Boris the lad is frightened and curls up into a ball in his bed. He looks tiny and he is a big greyhound! He also refuses food. Boris knows well before we do when the fireworks are going to start. I always watch him closely, so I have early warning!
Olive the girl is very laid back. She stretches out on the couch and goes off to sleep!
Good luck with your dog!
To find those useful products - just click on the links below.

Click on this link for Bach Rescue Remedy
Click on this link for DAP

Click on this link to for Sounds Scary Fireworks 2 CD Pack


This is an updated version of a couple of posts that I made a year ago.

As Featured On EzineArticles

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