Fear of fireworks
The fireworks start and the usually so happy dog crawls into a dark corner or paces around in fear. Unfortunately, many pet owners know this situation only too well. To be afraid of loud and unfamiliar noises is an innate protection mechanism, which under certain circumstances can however turn into an unnatural fear. The anxiety reactions can differ a lot. Many animals show physical symptoms such as heavy panting, trembling or salivating. Whining, barking and howling, as well as an unusually aggressive behaviour are other possible signs of anxiety. Some animals wander around restlessly, while others hide somewhere or seek shelter with their owners. However, these animals all have one thing in common, this time is tremendously stressful for them.
Many pet owners therefore ask themselves the question, how can I help my dog in such situations?
We have put together a few tips for you, which can support your dog to stay calm and relaxed during a fireworks show.
1. Supplementary feeds
There are various supplementary feeds, which can support animals to remain relaxed, balanced and calm. Such products are becoming increasingly popular and often contain medicinal plants such as hemp or chamomile. We recommend you to try the product Relax+ or Balance+ from Paw-Treats. For optimal support, you should start giving it a few days before the fireworks. If the dog is generally very anxious, it may even be advisable to give it for a longer period.
2. Thunder Shirts
A further option is to use a so-called "Thunder Shirt". These were developed for dogs who are afraid of thunderstorms. However, they can also be used in many other stressful situations. The shirts apply a light and gentle pressure on the animal's torso, which can promote relaxation in some dogs. It is important that the shirt is put on before the dog shows the first signs of fear.
3. Exercise beforehand
It is recommended to take a long and interesting walk before the fireworks start. Dogs that have got rid of any excess energy and are tired can often handle stressful situations more relaxed. However, it is important to keep the dog on the leash during the walk. Unfortunately, it happens quite often that the fireworks start early and dogs that are not on a leash run away out of panic.
4. Don’t leave alone
It is important not to leave anxious animals alone during a firework display. In such moments dogs need their human, who stands by them and gives them a sense of security. In addition, you should either stay far away from the fireworks or in your own home. In the familiar surroundings of their own home, many dogs feel safer than in an unfamiliar place. Friends who come to visit can mean additional stress for some dogs, while for others it is a positive distraction.
5. Offer distraction
Some dogs can easily be distracted from the loud noises by their favourite activity. There are animals that relax while chewing a bone or chasing their toys. Others calm down when they show off trained tricks or search for treats in the apartment. It is important to offer a distraction, but not to force anything.
6. Create a Safe Space
If possible, one should close all doors, windows and blinds. This can at least dampen the noise a little and prevent stimuli from dazzling lights. Some anxious dogs also like to retreat into narrow and dark hiding places. For such animals one should already set up a box or a place in their preferred hiding place some days beforehand. It should be confy and cosy, but above all further dampen the noises.
7. Be calm and relaxed
It is important that we ourselves stay calm and relaxed. Often when the owner is nervous or anxious, the dog is too. Some dogs seek physical contact in stressful situations. If this is the case, one should comfort him, but without being overly affectionate. One should behave as normal as possible and pet or massage the dog with slow movements.