Help, my dog is afraid of fireworks!
Has your dog shown signs of fear of fireworks and loud bangs in the past? Unfortunately, it is common for dogs to be afraid of fireworks. In this article, we will give you tips on how to deal with a frightened dog both around and on New Year's Eve.
What makes your dog afraid of fireworks? What makes a dog afraid of fireworks is individual. It could be the loud bang, the whistling sound, the flashing light or simply anything to do with fireworks that it is afraid of. Dogs that are afraid of fireworks have often experienced something in the past that triggered the fear. They may have been around intense fireworks or had a firecracker thrown at them, but sometimes there is actually no trigger. Some dogs get used to it over the years by understanding that the loud bangs are not dangerous.
Symptoms of fear of fireworks Common symptoms that show a dog is afraid are that they:
- Trying to escape or dig
- Difficult to relax and calm down
- Bites things
If your dog shows any of these symptoms around fireworks, it is likely that it has a fear of fireworks. It is common for a dog that is frightened to also show symptoms a while after the fireworks have stopped.
Treatment If your dog is afraid of firecrackers and fireworks, help is available in the form of both exercise and medication. If you choose the option of exercising your dog, remember that you need to start well before the New Year, a few weeks before is not enough and can actually make the fear worse.
If you want to train your dog on loud noises, it is important that you are very careful, take the help of a behaviourist who can set up a programme for your particular dog to overcome his fear of fireworks. To train a dog that fireworks are okay and not dangerous, the dog needs to slowly get used to the sound. The dog needs to experience it as a background noise, so it is very important to take it slowly and start with a very low noise level. If the dog shows the slightest discomfort, you should turn off the noises immediately so as not to risk aggravating the dog's fears.
There are both over-the-counter and prescription medications available to reduce your dog's fear and anxiety. If your dog shows mild anxiety, an over-the-counter supplement or preparation may help. However, if your dog has a severe fear of fireworks, there are anti-anxiety medications that your veterinarian can prescribe. Talk to your vet to give your dog the help and support it needs for New Year's Eve.
Spend New Year in a hotel If you have a dog who is afraid of fireworks, we recommend spending New Year's Eve in a quiet place, preferably outside a big city. Hotels near airports are often free of fireworks and can be a good place for you and your dog to spend New Year's Eve.