FIREWORKS AND THUNDERSTORMS
Yes, it’s that time of year that all dog owners dread. However
if you have a dog who is troubled by the noise from fireworks you
can use a variety of strategies to deal with the problem. Different
methods, or a combination, will work with different dogs and will
be appropriate for different degrees of reaction.
A PLACE OF SAFETY
Slight upset can usually be dealt with by drawing curtains to cut
out disturbance from ‘flashes’.. Move the bed to a cosy
corner/ behind settee/under table/under stairs so the dog has a
‘place of safety’. My old dog Jake used to retire to
the bathroom and liked the window blind let down. Milly takes herself
off to a corner in the bedroom behind a chair.
Put on a radio or television before the fireworks start. We find
that 3 radios in our kennel in each aisle work very well. We always
have night lights on and close all the outside doors so the dogs
usually have no idea what’s going on outside.
In the home toys and chews work well to distract your dog as well.
BUT DO avoid really loud music or ‘aggressive’ television
programmes – they can be as upsetting to an animal as the
fireworks. Remember dogs have very sensitive ears.
Try not to show your dog you are upset or annoyed. Don’t fuss
or pet him/her more than normal as this will only reinforce any
fearful behaviour as they will think you are rewarding their fear.
NOTHING ELSE WILL WORK IF YOU REINFORCE YOUR DOGS’ FEAR.
Get the dog outside and made comfortable before the display starts
and hopefully later when all is over. Avoid your usual late night
walk and just use the garden and stay with the dog. Make sure fresh
drinking water is available (as it always should be). Dogs who are
stressed often drink more water than normal.
OTHER SOLUTIONS YOU MAY NEED TO TRY
Most of these strategies need to be planned well in advance
These may work with some dogs. MUST BE USED OVER A PERIOD OF SEVERAL
WEEKS. You play the tapes quietly to start, then gradually increase
the volume. Use for short periods of time only when the dog is doing
something they like: eating/playing etc.
Kali Phos (available from health food shops) works on some dogs.
Try 1 Tablet every 15mins for a maximum of one and half hours. OR..
Bach Rescue Remedy – 8-10 drops in the drinking water. You
need to start a week before the fireworks start OR..
Bach Rescue Remedy Spray (Boots or other chemists) 2 squirts on
tongue as noises start.
DOG APPEASING PHEROMONES
This is a longer term solution.
You need to buy a plug in diffuser from your Vet (£25-£30)
and a refill (£20 approx), the refill has to be replaced each
When the unit is plugged into an electric socket it gently disperses
the Pheromones into to atmosphere (unit and dog need to be in same
room). Pheromones are chemicals that all animals produce as a form
of communication with each other i.e. mothers to appease their pups
in fearful situations etc, animals when they are looking for mates.
They can be very useful in calming distressed dogs (and cats) and
support the strategies we have talked about above.
If you are interested talk to your vet or look at research i.e.
In extreme cases you may need to talk to your vet about Tranquilizers
which they can prescribe.
If you live in an area where fireworks are a big problem you can often
make your views known to various pressure groups including the RSPCA
and you can complain to your Local Authority. A lot of people are
concerned about the proliferation of random ‘displays’
and the growing size of many products.