When going through my website analytics I noticed that I had a massive increase in people viewing my website on the 5th November than on any other day. I can only assume this is due to their dogs being distressed by fireworks.
Fireworks cause a massive amount of stress to our canine friends as well as other animals and wildlife. Some people, such as those with PTSD, can also become incredibly distressed. Although bonfire night is technically only one night of the year, these loud noises often go on for days which cause large amounts of stress, and sometimes even death.
So, how can you help? Firstly, there are many petitions currently encouraging the government to have stricter regulations on the sale of fireworks, limit fireworks to organised displays, only allow silent fireworks, and some even suggest a complete ban on fireworks. Signing these petitions, along with writing to your MP can help those in charge see the scale of those who are suffering from fireworks being set off.
On a smaller and more direct scale there are things you can do to help your dog:
- Sound proofing – this doesn’t have to be anything majorly drastic, even closing the curtains, putting blankets and cushions around the windows and doors, playing loud music etc. can help reduce the sound coming from the fireworks.
- Comfort your dog – there are some myths out there which suggest comforting your dog can increase their fear. I can assure you, this is simply not true. If your dog is scared, please comfort them. Allow them to get to where they feel most safe.
- Keep inside – don’t take your dog outside after dark. If you really need to take them out for a toilet break, then take them out on a secure harness and lead. Keep toilet trips to a minimum and try to do so at a time when there are no fireworks going off in a close proximity to your garden.
- Stay with your pet – I can’t emphasise this enough. If your pet is feeling scared, the last thing they want is to be alone. Yes, they might choose to be in a separate room, but being alone in the house can make them much more scared than if you are present.
- Prepare for the future – desensitization can help reduce your dogs stress response to fireworks. This can take a long time, so the time to start is NOW. Although desensitization may not completely prevent fear in every dog, it can help and is well worth a try.
Please note: when doing desensitization, your dog must be showing NO signs of fear, otherwise you are more likely to be causing your dog to shut down.
Please contact me if you would like help and guidance with desensitization for your dog.