Reduce firework fear

Reduce firework fear

Hi, I’m Emma Filby, a professional Dog Trainer near Cambridge at Anglian Dog Works, accredited by The Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT).

I know that fireworks season can be a difficult time of year for dogs and their owners.

In fact, according to the RSPCA, as many as 62% of dogs and 54% of cats show signs of distress during the fireworks season.

I am here to offer up some tips on what you can do to keep your dog calm during Fireworks:

 

Before the display

Make a den: 

  • Create a safe hiding place that is low down, covered with a thick blanket to insulate from the noise and comfortable like a crate or space under the table
  • Establish the den as a safe and positive place by putting treats there for them to snuffle and be distracted by.

 

Settle Before:

  • Walk your dog while it's daylight and settle down with them before the displays start.
  • Plenty of exercise will naturally tire them out. Our Agility Club group is meeting for a midday run around 5th; I always love to see happy tired dogs after class!
  • Let them out for any final toilet breaks before it gets dark and then stay inside.

 

Remedies:

For dogs who need extra support for stress and anxiety you can offer a few remedies to help them:

  • Give your dog a calming chew such as a yak or olivewood stick as chewing releases dopamine.
  • There are lots of calming teas that may help with fear, anxiety and restlessness such as camomile, valerian, lavender and hoy basil1. Brew, cool and add to your dogs’ food prior to serving
  • Consider canine aromatherapy. Essential oils need to be therapeutic grade to be safe for dogs to inhale. For example, Lavender, bergamot, sweet orange, and chamomile has been observed to be calming.2  Note: due to toxicity, must not be ingested by dogs or cats.

     

    During the display

    Muffle the bangs: 

    • Stay indoors with closed curtains.
    • Use TV/radio to mask the sounds.

     

    Offer reassurance: 

    • Give your dog comfort or allow them to hide away as they please.

     

    References:

    1. Rodney Habib & Dr Karen Shaw Becker with Khristin Loberg. (2021). The Forever Dog.Harper Collins Publishers.
    2. H. Koulivand, M. Khaleghi Ghadiri and A. Gorji, Lavender and the nervous system, Evidence-based Complement. Altern. Med., , DOI:10.1155/2013/681304.

     

    About the author:

    Hi 👋 I’m Emma, accredited as a professional dog trainer by the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT). I help owners of energetic dogs achieve the dog-owning life they envisioned by providing robust obedience & agility training for dogs in Balsham and Barton, near Cambridge.

    Disclaimer: The content of this article does not include personalised advice and is for information purposes only. If you need individual advice or other enquiries please click here to get in contact or if you're not local to Anglian Dog Works, you can find a trainer in your area by going to the IMDT website: https://www.imdt.uk.com/find-a-qualified-imdt-trainer