Ears back. Trembling. Hiding under furniture…
These are all signals that your dog is frightened.
And one of the most common causes is fireworks.
But why are fireworks so scary for our canine family members? And what can you do to help them feel calm?
Let’s dive in and take a look…
Why Do Fireworks Scare Your Dog So Much?
Most people know that fireworks are scary to dogs.
But have you ever thought about why? As you’ll soon see, this asking this question will help you solve the problems that fireworks create for dogs.
To begin here are the key reasons fireworks prove such a problem for your pet…
1. They’re Loud
Most fireworks make some kind of loud noise.
Dogs have a more acute sense of hearing than humans so those loud booms and whistles are more alarming.
They can hear more than twice as many frequencies than humans and can hear sounds from four times further away.
Certain types of dogs, like gun dogs, can be conditioned from a young age so that loud bangs and noises don’t scare them.
But for non-working dogs, encountering the sound of fireworks can be terrifying.
Put in perspective… if you think fireworks are loud…. then times that by five… that’s how loud it feels to your dog.
2. They’re Unpredictable
You expect fireworks on holidays like Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve.
Unfortunately dogs don’t follow the Gregorian calendar. They expect bonfire night like most nights to be the same.
As you can’t tell them to be prepared for the noise it makes everything particularly difficult
The fireworks come without warning and the loud noises and flashing lights look different every time.
Plus, they come at different intervals so your dog can’t get used to them.
3. They Pose A Threat
The noise and unpredictability of fireworks might lead dogs to see them as a threat.
This triggers their fight or flight response, meaning heart rate will increase and they will get a surge of adrenaline.
If there is no physical danger to run away from, this adrenaline will turn into anxiety.
Your dog might bark at the noises or try to run away and hide. He might show signs of anxiety, like restlessness, pacing, panting or whining.
4. They Make Dogs Feel Trapped
Dogs might try to run away from the threat of fireworks, but there is nowhere to hide.
Fireworks can be heard both in and out of the house so there isn’t much escape from the noise on 5th November.
What Can You Do To Help?
While Bonfire Night might be something you find difficult as a dog owner, there are things that can be done to help ease your pet’s stress.
One of the most important things is to create a safe space…
This ‘safe space’ should be somewhere your dog can run to when they get frightened.
If your dog is crate trained, this can double as their safe space. Or they might want to hide out in a quiet room in your house.
Fill the space with their favourite toys, blankets, or a piece of clothing that smells like you.
Cover the space with blankets to block out sounds and the flashing lights from fireworks.
As a bonus you can also put treats inside, to show them that this is a great place to be and full of positive experiences.
General Tips For Bonfire Night
As well as creating a safe space for your dog, there are a few top tips for helping them out on scary evenings:
- Walk your dog before it gets dark, to cut out the risk that they will experience the bangs of any fireworks while they’re outside.
- Act and behave normally on the night. Your dog will look at your behaviour for clues. If you appear anxious, this will make them stressed too.
- Keep doors, windows and curtains closed to block out as much of the noise and light as possible. Make sure your dog can’t get outside and escape.
- Let your dog run and hide if they want to, and don’t try to tempt them back out into the open.
- Add calming foods to your dog’s diet for the day. More information about which foods work great for battling anxiety can be found on our post here.
A Brand New Calming Solution To Use On Bonfire Night
Another option to help your dog get through the fear of bonfire night is to use natural calming foods.
These are foods that actively work throughout the night to relax your dog’s internal systems.
When choosing a calming product you think is going to be right for your dog, always read the label and research the ingredients. You will soon find many contain nasty chemicals or work suppressing your dogs brain function.
To help out dogs living in fear on Bonfire Night, we’ve created Relax+Restore.
This is a brand new natural calming product for dogs with no nasties – perfect for promoting relaxation in nervous, fearful or restless dogs. And it works incredibly well on bonfire night.
Relax+Restore is loaded with 7 of the most naturally calming super nutrients available to provide your dog with a relaxed energy. Plus an extra burst of vitamins designed to protect dogs against the negative effects of stress.
This makes it perfect for bonfire night as it gives your dog the extra helping hand they often look to you for around this time.
We recommend you use Relax+ Restore before an on bonfire night for the best effects. See the recommended serving amounts below.
To learn more about Relax+Restore and it’s breakthrough formula by clicking here.