Is your dog scared of fireworks?
Labradors (being gundogs!) are not your usual breed of dog to be scared of the bangs associated with fireworks, however if you have a different breed which is noise sensitive or you own a Labrador which is sound sensitive then it would make sense to prepare for fireworks in advance.
So – how do you know if your dog is distressed by fireworks? The obvious signs are pacing around, following you from room to room. Other signs can include panting and salivating. Some dogs may bark at the fireworks others may just simply hide.
Rescue Remedy can help alleviate some of the anxiety caused by fireworks. Put a four or five drops onto a small piece of bread. This can be given half hourly to effect.
Valerian and Hops – A herbal remedy. Has a calming effect on dogs. Depending on the size of the dog you would give roughly 4-6 tablets for a small border collie sized dog (20kgs).
With most homeopathic remedies you can give 2 pills (pillules) every couple of hours. You mustn’t touch the remedy as it reduce the efficacy. So I tend to drop the pills straight into a little bit of butter so that it is easier to administer to the dog. I am NOT a homeopath this is for guidance only!
Skullcap – a homeopathic remedy which has a sedative effect – will not sedate a dog in the true sense.
Kali Phos – a homeopathic remedy which has a calming effect.
Prescription Sedatives – you can ask your vet for sedatives, they may require to see your dog if they haven’t seen you for a little while.
DAP products such as infusers or collars which release pheromones. This is meant to trigger the reaction of making the dog feel secure, as the pheromones are the same as those released by the bitch three to five days after birth of the puppies.
There are CD’s available, which are to try and adjust your dog to the sound of all the bangs. By putting the cd on when you are in the home this can help normalise the problem.
I was given a tip that you can try putting on a t-shirt, to make your dog feel more secure… a bit like wearing a hug. I have tried a wraparound of fabric too. Make it snug but not tight. A commercial product called “Thundershirts” are great for wrappring around your dog as they are designed for this purpose.
Your Approach (ie. attitude towards your dog!)
How you deal with your dog when your dog is distressed by the noise is key to how the dog reacts to the situation.
It is important to not fuss over your dog as although your human nature is to feel sorry for the dog, whereas comforting the dog when it is upset by the noise actually confirms to the dog that s/he SHOULD be behaving like this. It enforces the behaviour. As hard as it may seem the best thing you can do is act as normal as possible.
Keep your dog with you by all means, turn the tv up a little bit if necessary but try and avoid giving too much attention as this will just encourage more of the same behaviour. (which then can result in learned behaviour whereby a dog will automatically continue to be scared of the bangs rather than just getting on with it)
It is common sense that you wouldn’t walk a dog outside off the lead whilst fireworks are going off so simply take the sensible precaution of keeping your dog on the lead. Try and ensure toileting needs are met before the fireworks start (ie take your dog out at about 5pm!)
Please help reduce the anxiety of fireworks, by getting the law changed. Here is a petition which is now going to be debated in parliament to reduce and regulate the frequency of domestic fireworks.
I have been campaigning with the Firework Abatement Campaign and have done a couple of radio interviews to support and raise awareness of this petition.
Heart Radio Interview scroll to the bottom for the full audio interview!
These notes are for guidance only and do not replace that of Veterinary Advice