Fireworks and Dogs - How to Avoid Disaster?
27th December 2018
With the end of the year fast approaching, many of us will be gathering on New Year’s Eve to watch the fireworks displays calling in the New Year. While fireworks are attractive and exciting for humans, dogs generally are far less keen and are unable to make sense of the loud bangs and explosions taking place in their normally quiet lives.
Dogs can become very worried and even distressed by loud bangs. Obviously, there is little you can do to prevent the fireworks going off, but you can take some steps to minimise the stress for your dog.
- If you are going to a fireworks display, leave your dog at home where he will be the most safe and comfortable. If you do bring your dog with you to an event, do not leave him in the car. A partially opened window does not supply enough fresh air, and it creates an opportunity for your dog to escape or be stolen.
- If you are all at home, keep the curtains drawn and the television or radio on. These simple steps can help to reduce your dog’s exposure to flashing lights and loud explosions. It’s also important to try to behave as normally as possible and not show any reaction yourself to the noise outside. Your dog will become more anxious if you show that you too are disturbed by the noise. Similarly, don’t comfort your dog. Your dog will see this as abnormal behaviour and will think that there must be something to be worried about.
- If being in the room with you with curtains closed and the television on is not sufficient to keep your dog calm, he may take refuge under a table, behind the sofa, or in him crate. If he does this, just leave him alone, and don’t stress him more by trying to coax her out. Just behave as though everything is normal and he will pick up on your demeanour and feel more comfortable.
- Ensure that your dog has no access to outside doors as he may bolt in fear once the door is opened. In case this does happen, make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag, such as a WaggTagg™, so that he can be reunited with you.
- Make sure your yard fencing is secure and that gates are locked to prevent your dog escaping in panic from the yard. It’s preferable to keep your dog indoors when you know there will be fireworks. If you cannot bring them inside, cover their outdoor crate or kennel with a blanket to offer them some protection from the bursts of lights and loud bangs. A dog’s sense of hearing is acute – on average four times more sensitive than humans. It’s a good idea to ensure that the door to the house is left open for the dog whilst outside so that he can make the choice to bolt into the house rather than out into the road.
- If possible, stay with your pet during the majority of the fireworks. A dog often reacts more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with him. Taking steps to ensure that you shelter your dog as far as possible from the noise of fireworks will help to alleviate the potential for extreme stress, and will also help to keep your dog as safe as possible throughout the fireworks.