Updated: Oct 20, 2022
It’s that time of year again; love it or loathe it, firework season is upon us! Social Media is awash with petitions to ban them, yet public displays have never been more popular. Whatever your stance, it's a fact that most dogs and wildlife in general will struggle with the noise.
My Beagle Alfred absolutely loathes fireworks, they send him into a tailspin of stress which on occasion has triggered his Epilepsy and he's ended up having a seizure. Needless to say, I'm not a big fan either so here's my top tips for getting through the unpredictable and seemingly constant flurry of bangs, squeals, and whirs.
Walks and the outdoors
There's every chance that a random firework will go off when you're out walking the dog; not even daytime can save you from that reality. A scared dog will very likely slip their collar or harness and bolt so make sure their ID tags and chip are up to date. Double check that harness and collar is well fitting, and your dog is on lead and wearing a tracking device. Ideally ditch the dusky evening walks if you can.
Sounds obvious, but make sure your garden is secure. A rogue firework whilst your dog is outside can mean they jump a fence, get stuck, or injure themselves. If there's any concern, put your dog on a lead or longline when outside.
Pull the blinds, draw the curtains, block off the outside world. It's absolutely ok to shut out the big noisy flashy scary world so you can comfort and reassure your dog. Last year I made some sound proofing cushions that I hung like a curtain in the front windows and they were an incredible success. Be creative, use pillows, cushions, blankets, egg boxes etc. to fill a draughty or noisy space.
Create a Safe Space for your dog. This can be anywhere that your dog finds comfort. A crate, their bed, your bed, under a table or desk. I've pulled the crate back out and draped a black blanket over the top so it's all cosy and den like.
Start the party!
Put some music on or turn the TV to loud! I set music to play in every room of the house so it helps to drown out the outside world. Classical is great but Reggae is our firm favourite.
Have a big dinner
A full belly helps induce the snooze. Feed those doggos :) There's also a host of speciality biscuits and treats on the market that promote calm and relaxation. Check out the Cwtches Dog shop for our range of Feelwells Goodnight Treats an absolute must for a sound sleep.
Pheromone products such as Adaptil or Pet Remedy are an excellent calming source for in the home. You can get sprays for instant effect and plug-ins for a longer lasting impact.
Create a warm and snug Safe Space, Build a Den!
Walk your dog early, before it gets dark
Close the windows, curtains and blinds. Insulate against noise.
Turn up the TV / Radio.
Have lots of food enrichment toys at the ready and all of the snacks
Consider pheromone products, or speak to your vet if you think you need something stronger
Never punish fear reactions including barking!
What else can we do?
The RSPCA is once again calling on the UK Government to introduce legislation which limits the sale of fireworks, with further restrictions to limit the days that they can be let off. The charity would also like to see a reduction in the maximum noise level permitted in fireworks for public sale to 90dB.
The call for change comes as an RSPCA survey reveals that 63% of animal owners report that their pets appear distressed during firework season. The poll also shows that 69% of owners had taken at least one measure to help relax or prepare their animal at this time of year.
You can get behind the Fireworks Campaign here
Contact your MP
Check out Focus On: Fireworks, Noise Phobias and Anxieties on how to train and desensitise your dog to fireworks