Dogs and New Year’s Fireworks: The Definitive Guide

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Fireworks trigger anxiety and panic in many dogs. So we went through reliable sources from vets, alternative healing, behaviour specialists, organisations and pup parents; to give you as many solutions to make your buddy feel safe.

 

1. Do not consider bringing your dog to fireworks displays or forcing him outside in the hope that they’ll get used to it.

This will only intensify their fear.

2. NEVER punish your pets when they are scared.

It will make them more traumatised and make things even worst.

3. Take a good long walk and give some extra exercise to your dog during the daylight.

It is a great first step, so you do not have to go out in the evening, when fireworks started already to be set off; and your dog will be more tired and relaxed during the explosions.

4. Don’t leave your dog alone ..

.. if you live in a location with a lot of fireworks activity for New Year’s celebration.

5. Make sure your dog stays inside and can’t escape.

There are many cases with dogs that run away because of the sudden noise and brightness caused by fireworks. Don’t let them go to yard or balcony at all on that day.

6. Create a playroom for your pup with locked windows and closed curtains.

Blackout or thick fabric curtains are the ideal, so your dog doesn’t see the fireworks’ flashlights. If the floor is covered with a big rug, even better, because it helps muffle the sound.

7. Put on music or tv to mask the firework sounds.

And here is a link with free downloads to “Sounds Scary”, which are sounds developed to help dogs deal with distressing noises. It was created by two veterinary surgeons specialising in the field of pet behavioural therapy.

8. Create some places inside your home where your dog can hide but still see from there ..

.. so they feel in control. And make sure these places are accessible any time. The ideal is to make a den from a travel kennel and cover the top and inside with some blankets. This video from RSPCA UK explains how. Or you can also create it under a table, chair, sofa, bed, or in a quiet corner…

9. Do not react when a firework is up

Ignore it and keep things normal, or your dog can be triggered by your reaction and start a fear state based on that.

10. Comfort or leave them be

It is ok to try to comfort your pup but you can also leave them be if you see they prefer to be where it feels like a shelter for that moment.

11. Pheromone diffusers

If your dog gets highly stressed, ask your pup’s vet about pheromone diffusers.

12. You can make a “thundershirt” or an anxiety wrap ..

.. with a scarf or a fabric bandage. This link gives a step-by-step to different DIY options. But you must bring your dog to a calm state first, then introduce it. If you put it on the first time when your pup is already in a high level of anxiety, it will not work, ok?

13. Train your furry friend using fireworks sounds.

Here is how: Just have speaker at the same room as his bed and play some youtube clip of fireworks on low volume. If he is shaking or trying to escape the room, turn the volume down. As it plays, sit with your pup, praise and give a treat for his calm behaviour. It will help your buddy accept these sounds until they actually happen outside.

14. Do some acupressure to relax your doggy

There are 3 acupressure points around the head that can be used to help to calm your pup. These points are called Gall Bladder 20 (GB20) and Governing Vessel 20 (GV20). GB20 consists of 2 paired points that can be found at the back of the head, at the base of the skull, in the indentations behind both ears. There is one point behind each ear. GV20 is a single point at the top middle of the head. You can gently press these points, one at a time or all three at the same time, or you can massage them in mini circles. You can do this for a few minutes or until your pet seems calmer.

15. TTouch

Another alternative technique called “TTouch”, involves tracing small circles with your fingertips in a clockwise direction starting at 6 o’clock and circling all the way around to 8 o’clock. You can use one or two fingers and the tiny circles can be done anywhere on the body. You can try doing the areas of the acupressure points mentioned before.

16. Ear protection.

There are some special head puffs developed to put on dogs that are too sensitive to sounds, but you can also use a bandage and roll around covering your dogs ears, then tight it up on the top of his head. Dogs that don’t have much hair around their ears, tend to suffer even more with loud noises, so this can be a good last minute solution.

We hope this compilation of tips can help you and your pup celebrate the new year in a calm state of mind and happy vibes! Just make sure you keep your dog inside and give extra attention and care during these stressful minutes for them.

Happy New Year!

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