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Pet Bucket Blog

Looking After A Dog During Fireworks

 by jaime on 23 Aug 2014 |
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During any celebrations where fireworks are likely to be present, particularly on New Year's Eve and on the Fourth of July, we need to keep a closer eye on our lovable dogs because while we love the flashing lights and sounds, it's quite the nightmare for our four legged friends. In fact, the Fourth of July is when more dogs run away than any other day of the year, showing just how frightening it is for them.

It's perfectly natural for dogs to be scared of fireworks, more so than other loud noises. Fireworks are near the ground, more vibrant and feature sudden booms and burning smells. These sort of sounds and signals send triggers to their nervous system causing them to become anxious, so their reaction to run away is merely a survival instinct. Therefore, it's so important that you look after your dog and protect them during this incredibly scary time.

How to protect your dog during fireworks:

  • Ensure they are wearing all the proper identification.
  • Have your dog stay at a friend's or family's place – somewhere your dog is familiar with and is away from loud fireworks. If it's the first time your dog will be going there, take them a couple of times in the lead up so they get used to it.
  • Have a travel kennel with lots of comforting items like toys, blankets and treats.
  • In the lead up to your dog experiencing fireworks, start playing recordings of fireworks, gradually increasing the volume. It's recommended you play these recordings before meals, walks, affection and play so positive associations can form.
  • If your dog is particularly anxious, you can try some forms of sedation – speak to your vet about recommendations. Remember, this method will only work if your dog is still calm – if they are already stressed out, sedation is unlikely to work.
  • You can try placing earmuffs on your dog to help drown out the sound – especially those designed to protect dogs near aircraft.
  • Alternatively, drown out the sound of the fireworks by playing music, a white noise machine, put on the TV, or washing machine – anything you think will help distract from the sound of the fireworks.
  • Don't forget dogs pick up on your body language so be sure to appear calm and not react around the fireworks to show your dog there is nothing to get excited about – remember they look to you for cues on behaviour.
  • Place your dog in a comfortable room as far away from the noise as possible and keep it very dark.
  • When the fireworks are about to begin, give your dog an extra special treat, particularly one that provides plenty of distraction.
  • Always, always keep your dog indoors during the fireworks.
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