Help Keep Your Dog Calm During Halloween and Fireworks Night
Halloween and Fireworks night are fun for children and adults alike, but they can be very traumatic to our dogs and pets. People in costumes, excited children and loud bangs can all be very scary for dogs. Planning ahead can really help to keep our pets safe and as comfortable as we can make them, so avoiding any incidents like a dog running off.
Know your dog and look out for signs that they are anxious. Some dogs will hide, some pace about and can be unable to settle, they may pant and yawn excessively, salivate or shake with fear. We need to stay calm and relaxed - by acting normally we can help reassure our dogs and they will pick up on our positive signals. If we show signs of stress, our dogs and animals will pick up on this and it will make things worse for them.
Steps to keeping your dog calm during Halloween and Fireworks:-
• Feed your dog earlier than usual and make sure there is plenty of water in his water bowls.
• Keep a collar on your dog at home with an up-to-date identity tag - you don’t want them to escape if frightened. And make sure your dog is microchipped, this is a legal requirement and will help you to be reunited if your dog does escape.
• Walk your dog before it gets dark, if you can’t do this, try to take them for a toilet break in the garden on lead before the fireworks start. This will also avoid any groups of trick or treaters in costumes that will look even scarier to your dog in the shadows. Don’t let them outside on their own and don’t assume that your garden is escape proof.
• Look to see when local displays are scheduled so that you can be at home with your dog. Don’t take your dog to a display, even if you think they are fine with bangs don’t assume they are happy.
• Speak to your neighbours and find out when/if they are going to let fireworks off, if they don’t have dogs they may not appreciate how frightened your dog is at this time of year.
Keep your dog inside
• Close the curtains.
• Make sure that doors, windows, gates, cat flaps are secured to prevent your dog escaping.
• Put the radio and tv on in different rooms, it’s been shown that classical music has a positive effect.
• Don’t let your dog go to the front door if trick or treaters or any other visitors call.
Provide a safe area
When your dog feels anxious they will retreat to somewhere they feel safe. This may be their bed or crate, behind a sofa or chair, under a bed, table or desk - your dog will choose where is best for him to be. Wherever they want to be put an old blanket or unwashed jumper with your scent on it to help reassure them. Don’t drag them out from where they’ve retreated to.
Reassure your dog
Act normally and if your dog comes to you for reassurance, to be stroked or cuddled give it to them in a calm quiet manner. Ignoring them when they come to you will make them feel worse, they won’t understand what they have done wrong for you to withdraw from them. Reward calm behaviour with dog treats or playing with favourite toys calmly. Don’t shout at or reprimand your dog, this will make them feel more stressed.
If your dog is taking any medication consult your vet before using any homeopathic remedy in addition to their medication.
There are many different products on the market to help reduce anxiety in your dog. As with a lot of things, what works for one dog will not work for another and it can be a case of trial and error to find what works best for your dog, as we know only too well with our golden retriever Floyd.
Some products on the market:-
Scullcap & Valerian
If you do want to dress your dog up, make sure they are comfortable and that their movement is not restricted. If they show any signs of stress don’t do it, it’s not worth stressing your dog over something they are not happy with.
By taking these steps we can help to keep our dogs as calm as possible during Halloween and while Firework displays are going on, making it more enjoyable for the whole family. Keep Safe.