Whether it’s Christmas, Chinese New Year or just an everyday celebration, you can expect some fireworks to start. But sadly, more dogs run away during the festive season than any other day of the year.
Dogs have highly sensitive hearing abilities, and can pick-up sounds the human ear can’t.
That’s why continuous loud bursts of noise are nerve-wracking to them, and one can only imagine how frightening it is for dogs when extremely loud noises erupt without a warning.
They may display psychological symptoms of stress such as panting, howling, pacing, whining, hiding, trembling, or even resort to self-injury.
Some dogs even take their fear to the extreme by trying to escape the noise by digging under fences, breaking through windows, or squeezing through the bars of a gate.
But don’t lose all hope of helping your furry friends during these times. Here are a few tips and tricks to help your dogs deal with fireworks anxiety.
1. Provide a safe haven
You can provide a comfortable area for your dog to stay or enhance one that he has chosen himself. Make the space quite small so he can squeeze in. This will help give him a sense of security.
2. Leave the crate door open
It’s best to leave the door of your dog’s crate open as some will injure themselves trying to get out. Block out sounds as much as possible. Shut windows, and play music or have the TV on to drown out the noise of firecrackers outside.
Close the curtains and turn the lights on to help muffle the noise and make sure that your dogs can’t see the flashes of fireworks or lightning creating a riot outside.
3. Avoid taking your dog out
Fireworks may be set off anytime and anywhere. When there might be a risk of loud noises occurring – walk your dogs earlier in the day, especially during fireworks season.
4. If your dog dashes about or does something annoying, don’t scold him
Your dog is behaving like this only because he is scared. You scolding or shouting at him is counter-productive and will only make the situation for him worse.
5. If your dog hides, let him be
He is trying to do what works best so he can cope with the noise. Don’t approach or try to move him as this could scare him even more and may result in aggression.
6. Do not punish your dog for being afraid
Do not lock him in a crate or tie him up for his behaviour. He could injure himself trying to break free from the scary sounds. He may also believe he’s in trouble for being afraid.
7. Make sure his name tag and address is attached to his collar
Should your dog be the kind that runs aimlessly away from the house when in a state of panic, a name tag with your address on it attached to his collar will come in handy in the event he is found. The person who finds him can easily contact you to come pick him up.
8. BONUS TIP: Stay calm yourself
Make sure that you stay calm yourself. Making a fuss around your dog as fireworks and firecrackers are in full swing outside only serves to confirm to him that there is good reason for him to panic.
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