by Gina Cameron, VN
Fireworks time is November and for many pets and owners this is a very stressful time of the year. Dogs that have firework phobia show signs of fear in response to the sight and sound of fireworks. Some are only mildly distressed while others suffer severe anxiety or sheer terror.
Signs you may see your dog displaying are panting, trembling, cowering, hiding, vocalizing, destructiveness, salivation, attention seeking, urination and defecation.
As much as you may want to cuddle and comfort your dog this only reinforces the message that the dog has something to be frightened about. Do not punish your dog either. There are several things that you can do to reduce the dogs’ fear of fireworks:
- Make sure that your dog has a good long walk during the day. Before it gets dark take your dog outside to go to the toilet, then inside and close all the doors and windows to minimize the noise.
- Close the curtains or blinds early and turn on the lights. You can turn on the TV or radio for some background noise.
- Feed your dog its evening meal an hour before the event. You can add some cooked chicken and white rice for extra carbohydrate. This is to fill the dog up and make it feel sleepier.
- Provide your dog with a ‘safe’ place like a crate or its usual bed and blanket.
- Give your dog a distraction like a Kong or its favourite toy.
- Do make sure your dog is kept in a safe and in a secure environment at all times, so that it does not bolt and escape if a sudden noise occurs.
- Stay calm and go about your normal routine.
- Use the dog appeasing pheromone, Adaptil spray or diffuser plug in.