Although we may enjoy the explosive lights of fireworks season, most dogs don’t. In fact for most unassuming pups, fireworks are deeply distressing and can cause them to behave unpredictably.
That means for many dog owners across the world, the lead up to fireworks season requires a lot of preparation. Whether that’s buying off-the-shelf calming aids or creating a relaxing and safe home environment for your dog.
So if you know your dog gets anxious during fireworks, here are a few stress-relief tips to ensure your dog stays safe and out of harm’s way.
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Top stress-relief products
There are various calming products available that some dog owners swear by. Many of these solutions are also recommended by vets. But it’s important to note, what works for one dog may not work for yours. It’s best to try a few options to see which is the most effective for your dog’s anxiety.
Thundershirts have been scientifically proven to relieve anxiety and stress in some dogs through pressure therapy. The shirt wraps around your dog’s torso using straps, putting pressure on specific parts of the body. It’s specially designed to feel like a balanced hug to make your dog feel safe and secure.
Thundershirts come in many sizes and are also effective stress-relief during storms, travel and in separation anxiety cases.
Plug in pet calming diffusers have grown in popularity over the last few years. This diffuser by Pet Remedy is clinically proven and uses a calming blend of essential oils, including valerian, vetivert, basil sweet and sage.
When using a stress-relief diffuser, owners report seeing calmer behaviour in their dogs within just a few minutes.
Calming sprays work much in the same way as diffusers and combine the same natural calming herbs. You simply spray the solution on your dog’s bedding or on your fingers, and rub around the muzzle, chin and chest areas.
Stress-relief also comes in a handy tablet form. These natural calming tablets from Dorwest can relieve short-term stress from fireworks and travel sickness, as well as long-term for general nervousness or excitability.
Stress-relief collars work by releasing a synthetic copy of the pheromone a mother naturally releases to calm and reassure her litter. Studies have shown this pheromone has the same calming effects on adult dogs.
Simply pop the collar on your dog as you would normally and let the pheromones go to work.
Tips at home
- Our dogs are highly attuned to our own emotions. During fireworks night, stay calm and happy so your dog can take your lead on those feel good emotions.
- Your dog may be frightened and want to hide in a small, dark space. Help your dog feel secure by making a cosy den around their bed using old blankets. Offer their favourite toy or a chew to keep them occupied.
- Take your dogs attention away from the bangs and flashing lights. Keep your curtains closed and turn the TV up to drown out the noise.
- If your dog comes to you for comfort, be sure to give them the soothing attention they need.
- When your dog is calm, reward the behaviour with treats and calming praise.
- If your dog needs to use the bathroom, make sure you accompany them in the garden so you can offer reassurance if a firework goes off.
What you should never do
- Never take your dog to a fireworks display. Even if they don’t whine or panic, don’t assume they’re ok. Dogs show stress signals in a variety of ways. A fireworks display is no place for a dog.
- Never leave your dog home alone if you know they’re traumatised by fireworks. You may be disappointed about missing the fireworks display, but your dog’s wellbeing is far more important. Your dog will need your loving support while they try to cope.
- Never shout at your dog for being stressed or acting out of character. This will only make your dog’s anxiety worse.
- Never leave your dog tied up in the garden while fireworks are going off.
- Never pull your dog out of their hiding spot or force them to face their fears. Leave your dog to do what they need to do to cope with their anxieties.
Does your dog cope during fireworks season? Let me know in the comments below…
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