While the crackles of fire and glittery explosions captivate most people, most animals don’t understand the fascination and actually find the high pitch whistling noises and loud bangs quite terrifying.
The population of dogs in the UK was recently estimated at 12.5 million, and at least half of them don’t react well to the bangs that come with firework displays. It’s not just dogs that don’t like fireworks either – cats, horses and birds also have trouble understanding what is going on and how to keep calm.
But fear not as Rooke’s has got you covered with a variety of tips, tricks and treatments you can use to help your beloved pet keep their cool this firework night.
Spot the signs
Dogs have extremely sensitive hearing (three times more than humans!) making the 190 decibels from fireworks extremely frightening.
Some pups will take firework night in their stride and not be phased by any of the noises or commotion, but others may not find it so easy. If you think your dog will struggle with firework fright night, keep a look out for the following behaviours:
- Whining, pining or barking
- Pacing (not settling)
- Biting or scratching
- Clinging to you or other family members
- Change in body posture (lowered ears and/or tail)
- Changes to their appetite or toiletry requirements
Not all dogs will act the same and it’s important to be able to spot the signs of anxiety or distress in your dog and act accordingly (while some will want fuss and to be close to you, others may want to be left alone in their beds).
Unfortunately it doesn’t end there – dogs don’t understand that fireworks are not a threat to them and can risk injuring themselves from scarpering out of the door through fear and potentially into traffic. Sadly a scary RSPCA poll found that 21% of UK adults have heard of or known an animal who’d died as a result of fireworks.
Doggy Distress Treatments
As a responsible pet owner, what can you do to help your dog feel safe and secure, not just on firework night, but in the lead up to the event too? Good question! At Rooke’s we stock a variety of calming products for both cats and dogs from a variety of brands, but our favourite has to be the Beaphar range.
Beaphar CaniComfort® Calming Diffuser - a simple and effective solution to reduce anxiety in dogs during an unfamiliar event or environment (eg moving home, adding a fury addition to the family or, in this case, fireworks). It is an easy-to-use plug-in diffuser which contains a copy of the naturally produced dog appeasing pheromone that is instantly recognisable to dogs (it is naturally produced by the bitch when she nurses her puppies and gives continuous reassurance to other dogs). The Beaphar CaniComfort® Calming Diffuser is suitable for dogs of all ages and the sooner you can start using it, the better (so that it has a gradual and successful effect on your pet pooch); Rooke’s recommends adding these diffusers in your home around x4 weeks ahead of firework night.
Beaphar Calming Spot On - naturally and effectively calms and reduces anxiety within dogs of all breeds and ages. Contains Valerian extract, a herbal supplement noted for its calming properties. Due to its micro-encapsulated formulation, a single application will calm your dog for up to one week and can help alleviate problems including excessive barking, destructive behaviour and inappropriate marking.
Beaphar Calming Tablets – suitable for dogs and cats, these tablets contain Melissa officinalis, sometimes called Lemon Balm, which is recognised for its calming effectives and helps to alleviate nervousness particularly around firework night without causing drowsiness. One packet will treat a large dog for three days at full dose rate or a small dog for fourteen days.
Beaphar Calming Collar – effectively reduces anxious behaviour in dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages. Using Valerian and Lavender which are often used in human healthcare to manager stress, it leaves dogs feeling calm, settled and relaxed. Once fitted, Valerian is immediately released and the dog will begin to relax within approximately one hour.
Tips and Tricks
In addition to calming treatment, you can also try a variety of distraction techniques and diversions including:
- Masking the noise of fireworks with more familiar sounds such as music or the television.
- Taking your canine companion for a long walk earlier in the day to try and tire them out for the evening so that they settle, rest and sleep better.
- Avoid leaving your pet on their own as they may look to you for comfort and company.
- Close all windows and curtains to help mitigate the outside noise.
- Keep your pets inside to avoid the risk of them bolting into the darkness (put your dog on a lead for their night-time ablutions).
- Try a Kong toy stuffed with treats (or hide treats around the room) to help keep them occupied.
Firework night can be a lot of fun, but remember not every member of the family will enjoy the celebrations. We’re sure it goes without saying, but keep your pets away from all fireworks and bonfires (dogs are usually banned from public displays and for a good reason).
For more advice on keeping your dog calm, safe and happy on bonfire night pop in store to speak to a member of our team – you can even bring your pet pooch with you!