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Dogs and Fireworks: Dealing with Anxiety


Dogs and Fireworks: Dealing with Anxiety

The lead up to Bonfire night can be a very traumatic time of year for many dogs. The loud bangs and flashes created by fireworks are often very frightening for them, which can make your dog stressed and unpredictable, potentially putting their safety at risk.

With around 40% of the UKs dogs being scared of fireworks, many owners often need to plan ahead and take steps to help keep their dog calm and safe in the weeks preceding Bonfire night.

Preparations for Bonfire night

In the weeks leading up to “fireworks season” you can help your dog become used to loud noises by acclimatising them to the sound of fireworks. There are many noise CDs on the market, or plenty of downloadable content which can give you the opportunity to introduce your dog to a variety of potentially disturbing noises in a controlled manner.

Warning: If your pet is severely noise phobic, sound CDs may make the situation worse and it may be a good idea to speak to an experienced animal behaviourist. Kennel Club Accredited Instructors are experienced in different aspects of dog training and behaviour.

Check your microchipping details

Early October is a good time of year to make sure that your microchip details are up-to-date and that they are wearing a collar and ID tag. Dogs can react very badly to the unfamiliar sights and sounds of fireworks and statistics show that last year there was a rise in calls to the Petlog lost pet line at the end of October and beginning of November. It can never be stressed enough how important it is to make sure your details are kept up to date. Currently 53% of microchips have incorrect owner details, meaning that if a pet goes missing around fireworks night many dogs may not be able to be returned to their owners.

For more information on microchipping and Petlog log on to www.petlog.org.uk.

Do your research

Check where and when firework displays are being held in your local area so that you know when to expect fireworks. Also ask your neighbors to let you know if they are planning any unofficial displays of their own to help you prepare.

Before the fireworks begin

During the fireworks

Things owners should never do!

Tried everything? Ask for help.

If you’ve previously tried everything and your dog is still stressed then consult your vet. If you are considering giving your dog any remedies or medications to help them cope with stress during fireworks, always speak to your vet if your dog has any health problems, or is taking any medication, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Speaking to a dog behaviourist in your area about any potential behavioural issues that may arise around this time of year is recommended, as they are experts in the field and can offer invaluable advice which will help to safeguard the health and happiness of your dog and make sure their dog’s experience of Bonfire Night is as positive as possible.”