Pet doctor’s 10 must-try tips if your dog is scared of fireworks

Firework season seems to get longer and longer every year, writes Paul Adams.

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If your dog is anything like mine, they can get extremely frightened and distressed by fireworks.

With Daisy, it all started one November evening two years ago. We were taking her for a short evening walk to do her 1’s and 2’s and all of a sudden fireworks started to light up the night’s sky. From that point onwards she has been nervous of loud noises at night.

We thought we’d share some tried and tested tip to help keep stress to a minimum during fireworks season:

  1. Keep windows and doors shut with curtains/blinds drawn. This can help reduce noise and light triggers leading to a stress response
  2. Background noise can help to disguise external noise. Try turning the TV or radio on. Get your pet used to this several weeks before the season actually starts
  3. Create a den or bolt-hole. Covering a dog crate, making a hideaway under the stairs or under the table gives scared pets somewhere to hide and feel comforted
  4. Leave internal doors open so your pet can get to their den
  5. Try to walk dogs before fireworks are due to start, ensuring they are kept on leads at all times
  6. Remain calm, praise and comfort stressed pets if they ask for it.
  7. Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag so if they escape, they can be easily relocated. Remember, both a tag and microchip are legal requirements
  8. Adaptil™ collars and diffusers release pheromones that help reduce anxiety. They are available from vets, pet shops and are a useful addition to your ‘stress toolbox’
  9. Karma-wrap or Thundershirts work really well in our pets. They are neoprene and elasticated material that when worn, apply light pressure over the chest area of your dog. They can really help to calm and reduce anxiety.
  10. Sometimes medicines are required to help in very stressed pets. Drugs that simply sedate pets are no longer advised, however there are several other medications that help target and reduce stress. You can speak with one of our vets at Knutsford Veterinary Surgery if you need more advice

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We advise you don’t:

  1. Take your dog to a fireworks display as they can be stressful and dangerous for your pet
  2. Leave pets alone who have noise phobias. They will benefit from your comforting and assurance
  3. Punish anxious or destructive behaviour, this will only make things worse. Seek expert advise if you see this

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If you need advice, why not speak to one of our helpful nursing team for more tips and advice. Simply ring 01565 337999 for an appointment.

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