Pets and Fireworks, How you can help, Written by Louise Elizabeth

Firework season can be a difficult time for some of our dogs. We know that there are likely to be lots going off around July the 4th, Diwali, November the 5th and New Years Eve especially. This means that we can plan ahead!

Thunder unfortunately can’t often be predicted and even fireworks can go off unannounced so this is where the quicker fixes come in.

You’ll likely know if your dog is anxious or scared of fireworks and/or thunder as they often display the following behaviours:

• Quivering & Shaking

• Hiding

• Tail between legs.

• Yawning

• Panting

• Licking lips.

• Crying

• Barking

• Grumbling or growling.

• Pacing

• Ears back or twitching.

• Biting at their feet or legs.

• Biting furniture!

This can be very upsetting to see but there are ways in which you can help your dog!

There are lots of natural products you can use to help calm and relax your dog and we'll look at some of these below…

How Can I Prepare My Pet for Fireworks?

If you can, start to prepare a month or two before firework season. The idea is to desensitise your dog and/or counter condition them. This means changing the way your dog reacts to the noise. So, if your dog associates the firework or thunder noise with fear, you'll want to try and change that. Conditioning and desensitising your dog will mean that your dog hears these sounds and knows that something good is going to happen instead. This won't happen overnight - it is a process that will take time but the results will make it more than worthwhile! One method of doing this is to play a recording of the noise that frightens them, in this case, fireworks or thunder sounds. These recordings are especially great for new pups. Puppies go through a second stage of fear so it’s a good idea to continue with this activity every so often. Start on a very low volume and gradually increase this over time. While the sound is playing, give your dog something they love whether this is a healthy choice of treats or even their dinner. This is also the perfect time to start using a natural remedy like Dorwest Scullcap and Valerian. This herbal blend helps to naturally relax your dog and can also help with the counterconditioning mentioned above.

You can buy this here:

What To Do During The Day To Induce A Calmer Dog

If you know fireworks are likely to be let off later in the day, there are some things you can do to prepare. Similarly, if you know that a storm is heading in and there is likely to be thunder, then some of the tips below are still useful. If possible, walk your dog while it's light and give them plenty of exercise. This will help them become more calm and relaxed. A nervous, frightened dog can bolt and run away so make sure your home and garden areas are as escape-proof as possible. Bearing this in mind, also make sure your dog is microchipped and the details are up to date, just in case the worst should happen!

Chamomile Tea For Dogs

Try to feed your dog before it gets dark and the fireworks begin. Try adding some cooled chamomile tea to their food or offer it as a drink if your dog will take it. Chamomile is known for its calming properties and is safe for dogs.

What You Can Do For Your Dog As It Starts To Get Dark

Try to make sure someone will be at home with your dog during the evening and keep them indoors after dark. Close the curtains throughout your home to block out firework or lightning flashes and turn on the tv or radio to distract from the noise. Encourage your dog to settle in their favourite spot. Give them a meaty bone, long-lasting natural treat or stuffed kong or similar form of enrichment to keep them busy. Try to provide comfort by not being too reactive or seeming worried about the situation, just sit calmly and stroke or massage your dog if they'll allow you. We build a den and cover it which really helps for our dog, find what works for yours.

Taiko Drum

This Taiko Drum recording has proved to be life changing for one of my dogs. I play them on a low volume and leave Mr Slobberchops Restful nearby with the cap off so the calming Lavender can work its magic but the dog is able to move away from the scent if needed.

TTouch Massage

Try some TTouch massage. TTouch is a series of various massages that help relieve the body of stress, fear and pain whilst also aiding the healthy functioning and healing of the body's cells.

Alongside den building or massage there are lots of natural additions that can help. Many have proven very effective for calming on firework night and during thunderstorms. Have some natural calming remedies on hand and administer if needed.

Homeopathy For Pets

You could also consider some homeopathic remedies. Unlike chemical treatments, homeopathy uses natural ingredients to work with the body.

Some well used remedies, all in 30c:

• Phosphorus - A great remedy for noise phobias.

• Aconite - The number one remedy for any type of shock.

• Arum Metallicaum - Can be used for the treatment of anxiety.

• Borax - Excellent for fear of thunderstorms and fireworks.

Thunder Shirts, Earmuffs & Half Wraps For Dogs

Thunder shirts, a snug fitting dog coat or a jumper can also work well for some dogs. Being a snug fit means they apply gentle, constant pressure to the dog's torso which can help them feel safe and secure. It’s a similar concept to us using a weighted blanket or when we are swaddling a baby. Half wraps work in the same way and can easily be made using a bandage, vet wrap or even a scarf. Similarly, a pet hood or earmuffs can also work by gently covering the dog's ears.

Plan Ahead and Know Your Dog

By planning ahead and using some of these natural remedies, you can help your dog become more relaxed and less stressed during firework season and thunderstorms. Always be guided by your dog and only do what they are comfortable with. If your dog seeks you out for reassurance, comfort them. If they’d rather hide away, let them. Not every method will work for every dog. You may need to try different options before you figure out what works best for you and your dog.

Written by Louise Elizabeth.

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