Prep your pet and build a dog den ready for firework season
September 14, 2022
Getting your dog ready for firework season should ideally start well before the end of October. Loud bangs and bright flashes can feel scary to even the most confident and assured dogs.
The nursing team at Towcester Vets have pulled together their advice on how to help your dog cope when there are fireworks in Northamptonshire, or wherever you are staying. Their advice covers what you can do in the months and weeks leading up to the dreaded firework season, which is typically from the end of October through to the start of January.
Before we dig in, are your contact details up to date on the microchip database? Did you move house or change your number recently? If your dog does run off after getting spooked, your chances of being reunited with them are higher if your details are correct.
How to prepare your dog for fireworks
Now your microchip is sorted, it is time to work on helping your dog hopefully get used to the sights & sounds of fireworks, or at least get through the events with minimal stress. Read our vet nurses’ advice on how to do this below.
From a puppy or months in advance
Work on noise desensitisation techniques
Ideally, you will have started practicing noise desensitisation techniques with your puppy during their key socialisation phase of 8-14 weeks of age and carried on with this training as they got older. If not, even a few months before firework season can be helpful. It may be too late to see results for this year, but you can start this now for the future: download ‘Scary Sounds’ – a Sound Training Therapy Program by Sarah Heath.
4 weeks in advance
Consider calming products
Talk to one of our Burcote Road nurses about pet calming products such as plug-in diffusers, sprays, and collars. These devices mimic the appeasement pheromones of pets, to encourage feelings of calm and contentment. With most products, you need to start using them a few weeks in advance of the event for the best results.
If you know your pet will be absolutely terrified of fireworks, perhaps they tremble uncontrollably, continuously bark or excessively drool, then we may be able to prescribe some calming medication.
1 week before
Create a safe space
Our vet nurses advise that it is wise to create a safe space for your dog at least a week in advance – it could even become a permanent fixture. This will give your dog a safe haven to retreat to if they feel scared. You can encourage them to relax in this space by placing treats or toys inside. You should leave them be whilst they are in there, but the occasional ‘check-in’ is fine.
To help you, our team have put together a guide on ways to create a safe space for your dog. You can download this here:
On the day
Batten down the hatches!
Here is our vet nurses’ advice on how to help your dog cope and avoid dangerous situations on a ‘firework day’.
- Exercise your dog during the day; keep them on a lead on the most likely ‘’firework days’ so they cannot bolt if one is set off early.
- Keep your pet indoors at night and make sure they can’t escape via your garden or front door if opened.
- Secure doors, shut windows, and close the curtains to dampen the noise and keep the flashes out of sight.
- Turn the TV or radio volume up a little to drown out the loud bangs.
- Do not leave your pets home alone too long and leave background noise on if you go out.
- Act as normal around your dog to avoid reinforcing negative behaviours by giving extra fuss.