How Do I Help My Dog Cope With Fireworks?

How Do I Help My Dog Cope With Fireworks?
Photo by Kristian Løvstad on Unsplash

Are you wanting to learn more about how to help your dog cope with fireworks during the festive season? If so, you’ve come to the right place – this can be a super daunting time for your dog, so it’s important to be well equipped with information when the time comes!

As dog lovers, we can’t think of a day where we wouldn’t want to spend time with our furry friends, due to their immense love and affection, and they are involved in our day-to-day lives as much as they can be.

At certain times of the year during festive periods, our dogs may be scared, worried, or even terrified of the prospect of hearing fireworks close by. As humans, we understand that fireworks won’t cause any harm, but our canine friends run and bark whenever they see even the smallest firecracker doing its thing.

I’m sure you can share the heartbreak, so in this article, we’ll be running this how you can help your dog cope with fireworks during the festive periods.

Reassure your dog that they are in a safe place

It may seem like a no-brainer at first, however, in order for your dog to overcome their fears, they need to understand that they are in a safe place away from the fireworks.

Most animals are afraid of anything new, especially when it can fly and looks like a fireball! However, the best way to familiarise your pet with a firework is to allow them to observe the fireworks at a safe distance away.

By providing them with that safe place, they can feel secure, and naturally, with the passage of some time, their fear of fireworks will soon dwindle and will be replaced with total joy and excitement!

When the fireworks do happen and your dog starts to get scared, give them a cuddle and speak to them in a friendly, positive manner, and reassure them that they are safe. Maybe even give them a treat, or two, while the fireworks happen! This will help reassure them that they are in a safe place and may prevent them from lashing out.

You could even take them outside in the garden to observe the fireworks – but this may be a little much for some dogs, and they may start barking, so if this is the case, keep them inside so they can observe from a distance.

Act normal during the firework display

Dogs are super affectionate animals and they have learned to be highly perceptive, therefore, keeping a close eye on them and giving them lots of cuddles and love during the firework display will help put them at ease.

Just like what dogs do with us humans – if we’re having a bad day or feeling down, they are there to comfort us, so we need to ensure that we are there for them, too. However, it’s important to act normal during a firework display and not to give the dog too much attention, it may seem counterintuitive, but giving your dog more attention than what they would usually receive is enough to make our doggy friends highly tensed.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show any affection towards your dog, of course not, that would be super silly given the circumstances, but act as normal as you can and don’t overdo it.

Give them lots of comfort food during the firework display

Everyone likes to eat as this releases a tonne of endorphins and other hormones that make us feel comfortable and secure. This isn’t just the case in humans but with dogs, too This is why we eat more when we are under stress.

During the firework display, if your dog is showing signs of worry, it’s worth giving them a bite to eat of their favourite snack. Munching on some food during the firework display will divert their attention from the fireworks and help make them feel relaxed, they may also realize that their human isn’t overreacting either, which will help ease their worries.

You can use whatever food your dogs like as comfort food, it may be something that they eat on the regular or a new snack or together, provided that it’s healthy and free from any artificial additives -a new snack may excite them even more!

Keep them away from the sound of the fireworks

Dogs have remarkable hearing capabilities, which are far better than us humans, therefore, loud noises can easily make your dog stressed and anxious, and in severe cases, the dogs may lash out or become uncontrollable, so it’s important to keep them at a safe distance away.

If the fireworks are close by, we suggest keeping your dog inside where possible, and you can mask the noise from the outside by creating noises that’s familiar to your dog – like the sound of a TV or a song!

You can also limit the noise as much as possible by closing the doors, windows and curtains, this will help protect your dog from outside noise and help them cope with the fireworks.

Spend time with them during the fireworks

This is an important one and it’s not advised to keep your dog contained in a room on their own, as this will make them feel agitated, anxious and stressed, not only will they be frightened of the noises and not knowing what it is, but they will be concerned about your safety.

Always keep the door open and be in close distance to your dog during the firework display, so they don’t feel confined and that they know you are safe.

Don’t force your dog under any circumstances

Fireworks are no joke to dogs and one shouldn’t push or force their dog into a situation where there are fireworks nearby or puts them in close proximity to the fireworks or their sounds.

If you attempt to force a dog into a situation, this may result in your dog being mentally scarred and your dog losing any trust in you, and they may become afraid. This will damage the relationship that you have with your dog.

You should give your dog all the time they need to get used to fireworks.

What can I give my dog for anxiety fireworks?

It’s worth speaking to your vet before giving your dog any form of medication or supplements, however, Melatonin is known to be a calming natural supplement for dogs that could be used during a firework display. Speak to your vet about the dose as this will vary depending on your dog’s body weight.

Why are dogs and cats afraid of fireworks?

Cats are more likely to be afraid of fireworks as they have higher frequencies of hearing than humans and dogs do. Humans hearing frequency tends to range from 20 to 30 hertz, whereas dogs hear up to 40 kilohertz and cats can hear up to 60 kilohertz. So it’s no surprise why dogs and cats are super scared of fireworks, as the big “bang” that we hear from fireworks is heard much louder.

You may also notice that your cats run from the scene as soon as they hear fireworks! This is relatively normal behaviour.

How long does it take for a dog to get over fireworks?

As with all concerns and worries, it can take time for your dog to get used to the sound of a firework and some may never get over the sound. It can be a traumatising experience for your dog, however, if your dog was to be surrounded by fireworks for a period of time, possibly two to three months of consistent fireworks throughout the day, they could eventually get used to the loud noises. However, you shouldn’t hope for this, as fireworks are mostly used during seasonal events, so they aren’t used consistently enough for your dog to get used to the sound.

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