While many of us look forward to the colours and sounds of fireworks on Bonfire Night, they can cause much distress to dogs. Therefore, it is important for pet owners to be prepared to help their dog on what can be a traumatic evening.
Tips to Help Dogs Cope with Fireworks on Bonfire Night
Particularly for new puppy owners, or those who have recently taken on a rescue dog, it is necessary to take steps to help make Bonfire Night less distressing. As around one half of all dogs are likely to show fear when they are exposed to fireworks, leaving your dog home alone while you head off to a display or bonfire party is not a sensible option. If you are planning to go out on Bonfire Night, it is far better for your dog to be with family members or friends, than to be left home alone.
Further tips on helping your dog cope this Bonfire Night, as identified by Hewitt & Damon in Dogs Today, include the following:
- leave interior doors open, so he can escape to where he feels most safe
- keep curtain/blinds closed
- leave lights on to help mask the flashes
- turn the radio or TV on to mask firework bangs
- give your dog time to do his business before it gets dark
- take him for a good long walk during the day
- distract him with his favourite toy
- remain calm and act normally
Exposure Therapy Helps Dogs get used to Firework Noises
Another option to help firework-phobic dogs cope with the loud bangs and noises associated with fireworks involves exposure therapy. This can be done by simply recording firework noises through downloading them off the Internet. Exposure therapy for dogs works on exactly the same principles as human exposure therapy. The more your dog gets used to the sound of fireworks, the easier it will be for him on Bonfire Night.
Alternative Remedies Help Firework-Phobic Dogs
If you are aware that your dog is often anxious and is particularly frightened by the loud bangs and light flashes of fireworks, alternative remedies may prove helpful. In The Everything Natural Health For Dogs Book, Gewirtz & Nuccio recommend key natural treatments for helping relieve anxiety in dogs, to include as follows:
- Bach Rescue Remedy
- peppermint aromatherapy oil
- homeopathic remedies – arsenicum album
As highlighted above, Bonfire Night fireworks may be particularly distressing for dogs, making it important to plan ahead and take steps to make the evening less stressful for your pet. Both exposure therapy and alternative remedies may prove beneficial.