TAKING CARE OF YOUR DOG DURING THE FIREWORKS
What is a night of celebration for us can be a nightmare for our dogs, as with their senses able to pick up a lot more on the sounds, smells and flashes they perceive it to be a dangerous situation and want to get away. Here I’ve put together what to avoid and what are some tips to help over New Year’s.
Do not take your dog to the firework display. This might seem obvious but some pet owners think that they need to share every event with their dog and it would be rude to leave them behind for such a fun night. They also think that they have such a strong bond that they can calm them down whatever the circumstances, however the closer you are to the fireworks that worse it is for everyone involved.
Do not ignore your dog while they are getting anxious about the big explosions. Yes they look to you as a leader for what to do in a situation but that doesn’t mean pretending nothing is happening will help. However don’t get too overexcited about the show as the dog will be confused thinking you’re focusing your energy on it because it is dangerous, rather than enjoying it. Pay them attention when they need it, and keep your emotions in control in front of them.
Don’t think that playing some fireworks sounds in the days leading up to the night will help. Remember how long it took to teach your dog where it was ok to pee or how to do a new trick? Well that’s the same type of conditioning and it needs a lot longer to be effective.
Don’t leave your dog somewhere unfamiliar, outside, with breakable objects nearby or alone. The location is of utmost importance and you need to realise that somewhere they don’t know adds to the fear, being outside rather than inside means no insulation from the noise and smells, and that with a panic attack they could break things and hurt themselves if left in a room that is not dog proofed. Furthermore, alone means they have no leader to follow or anyone to seek to find comfort.
Don’t give your dog a pill that is like a tranquilizer. That only means they are not reacting on the outside, which might help you out but for them it just means the same amount of fear and no way to try to fight it or flee.
Find a safe space and if it is new then take your dog to visit and get them used their surrounds.
Give your dog attention to calm them down, or ask the person who is taking care for the night to do the same.
Prepare by trying to wear out your dog during the day, by making snacks and games that you can use to distract your dog while the fireworks are going off.
Talk to your vet about the different products that are available that help dogs in this situation. Find out which pills can help, which wraps fit which size dogs and when and how to properly put them on. Ask about anything new that’s come out in the market such as music, scents and toys as the expert is going to know your dog and what is worth trying.
Do you have any other tricks that you use with your dog on New Year’s? Share your comments below.