Preparing your dog for fireworks

Preparing Your Dogs for Fireworks

It is estimated that 45-55% of dogs and cats in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.

It is important that your dog/cat have a safe place of their own to hide if they feel they need to, this will lessen their anxiety. Do NOT try to tempt your pet out of their safe place as this will only make them more afraid.

For Dogs, walk your dog during the daylight hours and try to keep them indoors as much as possible during the evening when fireworks are more likely to be set off. For Cats, try to keep your cat indoors on days when fireworks are more likely i.e. 5th November and December 31st etc.

Tips

  • When night falls close all windows and  curtains - keep your radio/television on to muffle the sounds from     outside.
  • Ensure your pet is in a safe secure environment so if in a state of panic, they will not escape!
  • Ensure your dog/cat is wearing a suitable ID tag and is microchipped with the correct details to ensure a safe return     if they do escape.
  • Have a KONG or safe suitable chew for your dog to enjoy during the fireworks.
  • Do not leave stressed out pets home alone during the fireworks.
  • Play, interact and work on some easy fun training with your dog to distract them and make new better associations     to the situation.
  • For seriously stressed out pets speak to your vet about herbal or medical options to ease their anxiety and stress.
  • Rescue remedy and thunder jackets are possible options to help ease a pet’s stress during the fireworks.

  

REMEMBER!

You CAN comfort your dog/cat when they are scared. Many people used to and still believe comforting a scared animal will reinforce their fear. This is FALSE!  You cannot reinforce an emotion, only behaviours. Your pet is not acting this way to gain your affection/attention – they are genuinely scared. Comforting them will help ease their stress and anxieties.   

Training

One of the BEST ways to help prepare your dog is some basic sound therapy to desensitise your dog or cat. You can start of in the same room or from another room if needed. Play a sound therapy cd - or even clips from YouTube/online - on a low volume at first. Slowly increase the noise level to help your pet desensitize against the sounds. 

The aim of these exercises is for the noise of the fireworks to become an everyday noise that the animal has a neutral association with – the noise is just a boring everyday part of the environment.

 

Do Not !

  • Panic/punish your dog. Reward them heavily for calm behaviour - BUT also give them treats/play     when the fireworks is playing for them to now associate the scary noises with something good. 
  • Remember when desensitising - if your dog reacts to the next volume level you can ALWAYS go back a step.
  • NEVER EVER flood your dog – exposing them to a lot of fireworks so they ‘get used to it’ will not help them, it will only shut them down – this is     called flooding and it is never advisable to train an animal.

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