This time of year is full of excitement for us humans, like Halloween, bonfire night and endless firework displays. But with trick or treaters at the door, relentless loud bangs and flashes, it can be a very anxious time for your dog.
Before the parties get going and the fireworks begin, we’ve provided some helpful advice to help make this season a little easier for both you and your dog.
In the days before the festivities begin, it’s a good idea to get your dog used to the sound of fireworks whilst in a calm and safe environment. You can easily find videos of firework displays online, or even buy a soundtrack of explosions. Reward them when the sounds are playing to slowly build a positive association with the noises. Play it quietly at first (as your dog’s ears are far more sensitive than ours) then gradually increase the volume over a few days.
Make a den
When the fireworks start, your dog may want somewhere to hide if they are frightened. Find a small, sheltered place away from doors and windows and make it cosy with blankets. Include something that carries your scent like an old unwashed jumper so they feel comfortable. Be sure to close the curtains to help block out noise and any flashing lights from the displays.
Never take your dog to a firework display. Even if they show no obvious signs of anxiety, panting or thirst can indicate they are uncomfortable and stressed. Make sure you give them a good walk well before dusk when the displays begin. If they do need to go outside during the evening, keep them on a strong lead, even in the garden. Any sudden loud noises will frighten your dog and they may try to run away.
Try not to worry about your dog when the fireworks are taking place, no matter how loud they are. They will pick-up on your stress and this in turn could make them anxious. Playing with your dog to distract them is also a good idea. Use their favourite toy and make it as mentally stimulating as possible to keep their attention on the game. Playing the TV or radio a little louder than usual in the background will also help block out the noise.