It’s thought that around half of all dogs in the UK are afraid of fireworks. And it’s hardly surprising. Our canine pals (and their super-keen senses) simply haven’t evolved to understand those extremely bright, incredibly loud, totally unpredictable explosions.
And who knows – with a sense of smell at least 10,000 times better than ours, a dog’s entire world could smell like smoke and gunpowder during those peak firework times in November and around New Year.
But there are plenty of steps you can take to help calm a dog when the fireworks start. Try to get in their walks and outdoor play during daylight hours, (maybe followed by a quick groom with some natural dry dog shampoo), so that they’re more tired, calm and relaxed going into an evening of fireworks. From there, it’s really all about adding more and more layers of doggy calm.
But let’s begin with the most important step of all.
1. Keep your dog indoors when the fireworks start
Dogs frightened by fireworks are more likely to run away if they’re left outdoors. Make sure they’re kept safely inside, without any way for them to get out and make matters worse. Close windows and curtains to dampen the sound of fireworks, and turn up some music or TV to reduce the noise of fireworks further.
Heavy blankets can be hung or propped against windows as insulation from sound and flashes, or you could even look at getting your dog some hearing protection. Muffle the noise outside, and make home a place of calm control.
2. Create hiding spots and a doggy den for your dog to feel sheltered
The next thing to do is leave small dark ‘caves’ around your home, and a covered den for your dog to hide in. This den can be set up in their favourite corner, creating a home within your home. Drape blankets over the den, and this will muffle the sound of fireworks further. Have bedding inside for your dog to lie down on, and maybe a favourite chew or toy.
With the fireworks raging, some dogs may need closeness and company, while others will naturally want to be left alone and avoid feeling crowded. But you can still leave a piece of (unwashed) clothing with your dog, ideally in their den, since your scent could help to calm them further.
3. Be your dog’s provider of calm, reassurance and reward
Barking, pacing and the instinct to hide are all natural dog behaviours in response to loud sounds like thunderstorms and fireworks. But since dogs follow their owner’s behaviour too, the best thing to do is sit down and stay relaxed, and be ready with some strokes if you’re needed. Speak calmly and quietly to counteract the chaos outside; and avoid raised voices or you’ll simply add to the noise and confusion.
But of course, the ultimate distraction for any dog, is food. Time their meal (or small treats like meat and cheese) for the worst of the fireworks, and you’ll have the ideal reward to take your dog’s mind off all that noise.
Best of all, this is your perfect opportunity to add a natural, soothing dog supplement to their meal, specially designed to help calm anxious dogs. Herbal extracts of valerian, hood wort and chamomile, mixed with organic cyder vinegar to create tasty drops, are well known for their powerful relaxing properties. This natural tonic can be a very effective dog calmer treatment, with nothing else added in – which we create by hand and deliver all across the UK, from here in our Newcastle workshop.
About our dog calmer natural treatment
We created HerbaCalm natural dog calmer treatment drops to help soothe and calm dogs of any size during fireworks and stressful times. Added to food as a 1ml drop, in our experience as dog lovers it’s the perfect finishing touch to create layers of calm control during those hectic firework nights.
Just click here if you’d like to know more about our natural dog calmer treatment, along with our full range of dog supplements and vitamins, herbal treatments for dog allergies, herbal dog shampoo, and much more besides. All handmade by our expert team, whose work makes us the UK’s No.1 dog herbalists.