Remember Remember - it's not just November!
Did you know that up to 50% of dogs may be affected by fear of loud noises?
Well as hard as it may be to accept, the dark nights are creeping up on us. And at this time of year the season of fireworks will no doubt be starting soon. Although fireworks traditionally were only about in November we see more and more that we can have them anytime as they become more accessible to everyone. While people enjoy the colourful flashes in the sky most of our pets have a different reaction to the bright lights and the loud noise.
How can we help prepare our dogs to cope with fireworks?
If we can perhaps think like a dog and try to understand how they perceive these loud noises then maybe we can come up with solutions to ease the affect on our beloved pets. They feel scared as they hear the noise of the fireworks but unlike us they do not understand that they are perfectly safe inside their home and that they will not come to any harm.
It is thought that building a den can help minimise the anxiety dogs feel. They can retreat to this den when the fireworks start. Ideally this should be created a month in advance so your dog can get used to it and is comfortable using it before the fireworks start. The den should be covered to protect your dog from both the noise and flashing lights of the fireworks. If your dog already uses a crate then it is a great idea to drape a blanket or cover over it as this can enhance the feeling of security he will get from being in it. This den can be created somewhere in the house that the dog would normally inhabit, especially somewhere that people also use to gain extra security from having people around.
The comfort of this den can be further enhanced by using an Adaptil Diffuser, if your dog is happy in his den while the fireworks are on, then let him come out in his own time after they have finished as trying to coax him out before he is ready will only cause more distress.
If you have no space to build a den then try using the Adaptil Diffuser as an aid to controlling the anxiety. The Adaptil Diffuser will become fully functional in 24 hours after being plugged in but should be in place approximately two weeks to allow the pheromone to support your dog in the run up to fireworks going off. Each Adaptil Refill will last up to four weeks.
A healthy treat or a favourite toy may also be placed in the den to distract your dog. A toy that can be stuffed with treats or chewed can take their focus away from what is going on outside.
A few other things that can help are drawing the curtains, to muffle the noise and reduce the brightness of the flashes, playing music or having the television on in the background can help mask the sound of the fireworks.
The most natural thing to do when you see your dog upset by fireworks is trying to comfort them however this can lead to them becoming more reliant on you in the future when they are faced with this kind of situation. Sometimes seeing you act normal and not making a fuss of them can help them feel more settled. Do not punish them for showing fearful behaviour during fireworks as this will only compound the issue for the future.