It’s not uncommon for dogs to be fearful of loud noises, in fact in 2005 a study was carried out by the RSPCA which found that 49% of owners questioned reported their dog was afraid of loud noises.
To help your dog this year, follow the below tips from VetPlus.
1. Let them hide
Don’t force your pet to face its fear, let them run and hide.
2. Don’t make a fuss of them when they are afraid
It may be hard, but by making a fuss of your pet you’re rewarding the fear behaviour. Do make a big fuss of them when they calm down though to congratulate them on being relaxed again!
3. Play music
A distraction for them to focus on instead of fireworks can work wonders. But be careful not to cause your dog to associate that music with the fear by playing it frequently.
4. Stay cheery and be a good role model
Your pet will pick up on your concern. If you can be with them, be happy, whistle or sing a song to show them you are not afraid!
5. Work out what relaxes your dog
We don’t mean take them for a massage, instead work out what relaxes them and try to replicate it. Play could work well as a distraction, or perhaps a specific area of the house they like to relax in.
Dogs are less likely to develop a fear for fireworks and other loud noises if they are born in the autumn. This is because Autumn puppies experience fireworks in the first few months of their life, but it can also be achieved through socialisation classes with recordings of loud noises.
7. Get building!
Find a quiet area in your home, ideally in the middle of your house and away from the windows. Then, get building! Make a den for your dog out of whatever materials you can find, release your inner child and get creative! When picking materials for your build, make sure you:
- Don’t disturb their usual bedding
- Make it warm and cosy for them
- Keep the den away from windows
- Provide them with food, water and their favourite toys
- Set up the den at least a week before, so they can be familiar with it
Some examples of what you could do include:
- Build a sofa fort
- Drape a blanket over the back of a chair
- Use an old cupboard or wardrobe
8. Visit your Vet
Nutraceuticals such as Calmex, Calmex Cat and Calmex Equine could help your pet cope with loud noises this Bonfire Night. Speak to your vet in advance of Bonfire Night for advice on managing fearful behaviour in your dog.
Not forgetting our other furry friends!
Cats are a little harder to prepare for. Just ensure their favourite hiding place is accessible, their litter box is fresh and do not try to pick up a scared cat.
Other pets; Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and other small rodents
- If they’re outside, bring them indoors
- Make sure they have plenty of bedding to hide in
- Keep the cage in the middle of the house