Last week I heard and saw (out the window) the first Firework display, I know this will be the first of many and my heart sunk. It is a time of deep dread as my dog is afraid of fireworks. She will constantly run around the house barking and is frantic with pent-up fear and anxiety. She doesn’t understand and the loud boom of a firework (or thunder clap) and is something that scares the “be-jesus” out of her.
Bonfire Night – Why-
If you are reading from anywhere other than the UK you might be forgiven for not knowing who or what Guy Fawkes is. Long time ago (the year 1605) some “Guy” tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament, he failed, was caught and it never happened. But for some bizarre reason we celebrate by having a big bonfire and throwing a “look-alike” Guy Fawkes onto the fire and stand around and watch him burn. We then have a humongous Firework display which scares young children and dogs half to death.
Traditionally Bonfire Night was always on the 5th November unless it fell on a Sunday, then it was a Saturday. These days it seems to stretch from Mid October until the New Year. So my poor dog is beyond stressed by the time we reach the New Year.
What Can I do
Each year as we approach late October I start to look at solutions. I have read so many online articles, I have taken her to the vets to receive medical advice.
Two years ago we trotted off to the vet and we were given the dog equivalent of Valium. We gave Dolly the dose as instructed at 4pm and followed it with a second dose at 6pm. It made not one jot of difference, she was running around the house like a lunatic barking chasing her tail, jumping up and down at the front door, then finally when the last firework spluttered and hissed itself to a stop she just howled and cried.
It was around midnight before she finally settled down. However, the next day she could barely walk, she seemed to be almost drunk, kept falling over and when she was’nt sleeping she just howled for hours at a time.
That was a fail
We do have limited success with plugins, (that’s the socket variety) although this really only works when it’s a thunderstorm and not with fireworks.
Here Are Some Ideas, Recommended Advice & Tips
Dolly may just be highly strung when it comes to loud noises (and Bagpipes), the latter is very odd as she is a West Highland Terrier and you would think Bagpipe noise would be hardwired into her DNA. Your pet whilst not being quite so affected may never the less find Fireworks and Thunder very upsetting. I can offer you this advice which works for some.
Walk Earlier- When Light
Fireworks being let off pre the big bang doesn’t help, so take them for a long walk early afternoon.
When It Starts To Get Dark
- Feed them well before the first bang
- Close all doors, windows and curtains
- Create a safe environment close to you in the lounge, if they sleep in a cage then cover with blankets, creating a cave like safe haven which will give comfort
- Stay around all the time
- Telly or Radio turned up REALLY LOUD, hopefully to mask the hiss and spitting sounds, it won’t mask the big bangs but hopefully will help.
Whilst it’s important to be caring and kind to your dog, do not over compensate as this can cause them concern, keep your mood light and try not to show agitation as your dog will pick up on this
Do not let them out at any time whilst the fireworks are going off. If they were outside a there was particular loud bang they may run away in fear. (ensure they are tagged and chipped)
A plug in adapter is a type of diffuser which sends the scent around the room, (humans won’t smell) it creates a safety blanket. This as mentioned previously offers some level of comfort for Dolly when its thundering. You may find it is all that is required this year for the firework season.
Found the best deal on Amazon a 30 day plug in is from £15:85
Thunder Shirt for Dogs
I found this last year and in all honesty this offers by far and away the best support. The moment Dolly is buttoned into this suit she is calmer immediately. I can not claim to understand the science behind the snug fitting suit but it seems to work very well for our dog.
- Most effective anxiety solution as voted by vets
- Great for storms, fireworks, separation, travel and many other dog anxieties
- No need for training or medication
- Helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety in most dogs
- Comes in a range of sizes from xx small to xx large
This suit comes in various sizes ranging from xs to xxl
Amazon again are offering a quick delivery and full selection of sizes, prices range from £31:95. This may seem expensive but it can be used multiple times and is washable.
Be prepared, you may not have Fireworks where you are but your dog may well suffer with anxiety over other issues like loud noises, resulting in constant barking, generally fearful. This close-fitting snug suit fits exactly and for some reason this will calm the dog. Not in all cases, but if this is used in conjunction with all the tips above you may well have a more peaceful Guy Fawkes, New Year or other festival and loud occasion.
I would like to hear your stories and how you and your dog cope with loud noises. Please comment below.
Thank you for reading my blog post
Cordelia & Dolly
I took a picture of Dolly yesterday, she heard a Firework….
NB as an affiliate for Amazon we receive small commission. The cost is the same as going direct.