Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fireworks and Dogs - 5 Ways to Ease Your Dog's Fears

Fireworks are a part of both the Canadian and American celebrations.  Many dogs are sensitive to fireworks and have negative reactions to the inconsistent noise.  They have no idea that it is a celebration, they just hear these strange noises which are unfamiliar to them and can become agitated and sometimes quite fearful.

Here are 5 ways to help your dog through the stress of the holiday firework season.

  1. Desensitize your dog!  The number one way to avoid stress and anxiety in any situation is to desensitize them to the issue at hand.  f7 sound has created a CD which actually simulates the unpredictable sounds of fireworks  You can play this for your dog prior to the big event to get them used to the noises that will be occurring. The link to their website is  Cd's are only $12.00.
  2. Another great way to ease their fears is to use the method of distraction.  Just like with children, if you want to get their mind off scary nightmare,you distract them with something like a song, a game or something else which will get their mind off what they are scared of. You can try playing with your dog while the \CD is playing .  They will eventually get so wrapped up in their enjoyment that the noise won't even effect them.
  3. If the CD just isn't quite enough to help your dog cope, you can help them by creating a safe and comfortable haven for him to go during the loud noises.  If you have a functioning basement you can create an area of safety.  Set up a quiet, low light area with food, water and a bed.  You can also place in some of his favourite toys and even a bed.  Get him used to this room prior to fireworks time so that he is comfortable when the big day comes.  One important thing is to make sure that your dog can come and go freely through this area and never lock him in this room alone.  The trust will be lost and all your work will be for nothing.
    Sometimes your dog actually finds his hidey hole for you.  You just need to play along and go with it.  Even though you don't see the sense in some of their preferred spots, they do!  You're not a dog so just allow it to happen and let them have a say in where they will feel safe as long it is free from contaminants and will keep them safe from harm.
  4. Try a DAP.  A dog appeasing pheromone releases calming pheromones into the air.  You can plug it into the room where the dog is staying and it is very similar to an air freshener.  Check out this website for more information . The DAP is also good for separation anxiety and other behavioral issues.
  5. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy.  This works on a vibrational level and seeks to provide calm in your dog.  A few drops in your dogs water bowl can help to alleviate their stress.  Check out my blog post on Bach Flower at for more information on these amazing remedies. 
Finally, in all cases, please remember to do what you can to make your dog relaxed and less stressed during these times.  The fireworks may be festive for you but fearful for your dog.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I just wanted to add that staying calm yourself and making sure you're not stressed out because you know they're going to react badly to the noise, will also make a difference to your dog. Dogs pick up on our feelings and if we're stressed out, it will actually make them worse because they will think there is definitely something to worry about.