How to help your pooch cope during fireworks season

October 30 2018
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November blog from Vets4Pets Portishead

Fireworks season can be very scary for dogs, with many of us rushing to do everything we can to help reassure and soothe our beloved pets and best friends.

However we underestimate just how much of an impact our actions have on our pets and what messages we are giving out to them. Understanding how your pet reads and interprets your actions is extremely important and here are just a few tips to help your pooch cope during what can be a frightful time of year.

• Allow your dog to find their own way of self-soothing and calming down. This can be hiding in a cosy space like a crate covered in duvets or even their own bed. Rushing to cuddle, comfort or stroke your dog will prolong their anxiety and encourage that particular behaviour in the future. It is important not to leave them alone and simply be present as company.

• Start playing the noises they are sensitive to on a very low level volume. Play these at random and carry on your day or evening as normal. The noises should be low enough for them to register but not feel the need to react to. If over the first few days or weeks they seem resistant to the sound level, you can start to increase the volume to begin building more resistance. For dogs or puppies with no fear yet, this process can be accomplished quite quickly. However for dogs with fears already, be careful not to push their thresholds too much and take steps back as necessary. It takes as long as your dog takes so don't rush them. This de-sensitisation process can take months.

• Use calming products that release natural smells and pheromones into the environment. Products such as these come in the form of plug-ins, collars, sprays and wipes. Speak to your vet if you would like to find out more.

For more information on how you can help your fearful dog, or prevent your dog from developing fears, come along to our 'Fireworks Anxiety Workshop'. Dates below!  

Vets4Pets workshop dates