Help your dog to survive the fireworks with ease. Tips that work I use it each year with my dogs and cats.
It is that time of the year again, where we celebrate the New Year soon. It is just 10 days away. In some country’s fireworks are still allowed and for our pets, a horror day with lots of stress starts.
Dogs and Cats are scared of fireworks, and some dogs are severely affected.
Why are dogs afraid of fireworks?
For us, humans, Fireworks are a fun and exciting way to celebrate holidays like Independence Day and the Celebration of the New year.
For dogs, and cats though, those loud booms and flashing lights aren’t so much fun.
During the Independence Day and the New Years day, so many pets run away and get lost because of the fireworks. It is critical that during this time, you keep your pet inside the home.
It is also a good idea to have your pet microchip in case it is not a law in your country, or keep an identity tag on your dog’s collar.
4 Reasons Dogs are Scared of Fireworks.
1. Yes, the fireworks are loud and noisy with lots of flashes and lights.
Fireworks even the Crackers make noise.
The Rockets make big booms and beautiful lights to us humans.
For dogs, it is just a loud boom, crackles and whistles with flashing lights, and that is scary for them.
Dogs have a more acute hearing sense than us, and those loud sounds are alarming for dogs. Loud booms, crackles and whistles are alarming.
2. Fireworks go on for hours and are unpredictable.
You expect fireworks on holidays like the Fourth of July, and on New Year. You are looking forward to it, but your dog feels it is just another day with lots of noise.
The loud noises and flashing lights come at different intervals, so dogs can’t get used to them.
3. The Fireworks pose a threat in your dog’s mind, and that means to hide.
For dogs, the noise and flashing lights of fireworks are unpredictable, and dogs absorb them as a threat.
It triggers their fight or flight response. Some dogs show signs of anxiety, run away or hide. Some dogs get really bad and show restlessness, panting, pacing and whining.
How can you help your dog to overcome the fireworks with ease?
The first thing you have to do is keep your pet inside on the day of the fireworks.
That includes your yard, garden or any outdoor area even if it is enclosed. Make sure your kids do not leave the front door open by accident, and your dog or pet might escape.
Take your dog for a walk a few hours before the fireworks go off. I usually take my dogs around 8 pm for a walk, although there are already some people kids and adult who start firing a few firecrackers and rockets. I do not let my dogs off the leash, I keep them on the leash the whole time.
2. Creating a safe place inside your home for your dog or pet.
Your dog needs a place where he can hide and at the same time, feels safe.
I usually use a table in one of our rooms and cover it with blankets, especially if you have more than one dog. I covered the table with blankets and put under the table some chewy toys with little treats inside, including some soft covers to sleep on it.
If you lock the crate, it might be even more stressful for your dog in the crate as he has no way to escape. Please don’t lock your dog in the crate, as this can be even more stressful for him.
A dog needs an option where he can hide. What might be ok for you might not be ok for your dog? Give your dog options so they can choose where to hide
3. Avoid that your dog is stressed out
Some dogs get so stressed that they try to escape from one place to the other. You mustn’t confine your dog to one room only. Especially if you have an easily scared dog.
My dogs do stay with us during the time of the fireworks. Most of the time, they are curled up under the table.
We keep the TV on to overdo the noise. But our dogs are smart, and they can hear them anyway.
Dogs may also be most comfortable curled up in their usual spot with you rather than a designated ‘safe place’, so allow them access to all safe areas of the house.
4. Cover any glass doors and windows.
Draw the curtains or cover the windows to minimize the lights from the fireworks. If you have shutters let them down or close them.
Lots of people believe that it is the sound that makes a dog scared, but it is not always the sound alone. Even the flashing lights across the sky can make a dog scared. Leave your lights on at night when everyone is indoors to reduce the impact of the flashing lights.
Dogs, when they’re frightened about something, they will seek somewhere to go that they feel safe and secure.So we want to make sure that the hiding places are provided for them, which they know is at a place that they’re going to be safe and secure in. We need to get them used to it earlier on before fireworks start.
5.Provide dogs with a long-lasting chew to help keep them distracted and busy
When you go out on New Year’s Eve and leave your dog alone at home than please make sure you have all the lights in the home on and all the curtains are closed. Put on the TV or some soothing music so your dog is not feeling totally alone. ( Make sure the music last until you are back or put the music on repeat)
Nothing is more terrifying for a dog being alone on the day where there are fireworks and he is alone at home.
Provide your dog with different options of toys to keep him occupied. There are different options on toys you can use for your dog to calm down. The best are the ones where they are busy figuring out where the treat comes out and how to get it out. That keeps your dog occupied and distracted.
You can also use a chewy bone if that is a better way for your dog. Toys are available in any pet store, and the best for a situation with fireworks are interactive toys. Please read my blog the best 4 interactive toys for your dog.
6.The use of Pheromones to calm down a pet.
I am not a friend of those things, but I will use them before the fireworks. Around 2 weeks before. Why, because I tried a lot and I find the best are those Pheromones to calm down my dogs and cats.
I love my pets and want to make them as comfortable as possible. They are available as Adaptil Spray, Adaptil Collar and Adaptil Diffuser.
I usually spray the bed with Adaptil, make sure you’re leaving 15 minutes between spraying the bedding and having your dog go there. There is another brand that is called Sentry and that is used for cats and smaller dogs.
You can also use the Adaptil diffuser and plug it close to the safe place for your dog. Note you should do that a couple of weeks before the event, if not possible then use the Adaptil Collar. It also works wonders.
We know that using Adaptil helps dogs cope with worrying or challenging situations, which fireworks nights can be.
So plugging in an Adaptil diffuser a couple of weeks beforehand very close to the den helps them have that pheromone support. ( 7days before is still ok)
An Adaptil adapter is just a synthetic copy of the natural pheromone. A mother dog will release two to three days after giving birth to her puppies, and the idea is that these puppies then are comforted and supported by her presence.
And Adaptil has precisely the same effect on our adult dogs as well as puppies that you may have in your home.
Don’t forget your cats!
We’ve talked a lot about how to help your dogs on fireworks night but as mentioned earlier, don’t forget cats.
Once they come in for the evening, shut that cat flap. Make sure your cats got all the things they need inside: a little tray, some food, some water and most importantly they’ll have this favourite spot that they like to hide or sleep in.
And it’s best just often to leave them there because they cope so much better on their own.
If you have more than one cat, you may find that this change in routine can be quite stressful for them and in this situation, Feliway can really help them cope with the change in routine and having to share the space inside with each other. You can also use the brand sentry.
My cats are typically curled up between my dogs during the fireworks. Especially Leo, our cat who is even afraid of thunder.
All in all, we also provide Feliway of Sentry for our cats that calm them a bit down, and they are more relaxed than our dogs. It sometimes looks our cats protecting the dogs and assure them all is fine.
Thanks for reading my blog “Dogs and Fireworks. Why are dogs afraid of fireworks? Keeping Your Dog Calm and Safe When The Fireworks Starts.
I hope this has really helped you to understand how we can help our dogs and cats during the firework season and I want to wish you a happy and safe firework season.
If you have a dog or cat that is really fighting with anxiety, and you have tried all please ask your veterinarian for advice and solution.
If you’re going to need further information, and want a natural solution you could use essential oils.
Take caution when using essential oils as some oils are toxic for pets.
Please share my blog with someone who has pets and with your friends.
Have a beautiful New Year and may 2020 fulfil all your wishes.
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All yours Melanie