Fireworks and storms can cause alarm for pets. Dogs may tremble and shake, run away frantically or may cower and hide. For us in India, this is seen often during Diwali and the wedding season. My boxer, Bingo would tremble for hours while we tried frantically to comfort him. Loud noises like firecrackers and thunder are heard more intensely by dogs than by humans. Not only do the loud sounds startle them it can actually be painful. Here are some tips if your dog shivers during firecrackers. They will help keep your dog safe and calm when experiencing firecrackers or thunder noises.
1) If you know your dog is frightened during thunderstorms make sure they are secure indoors. Storms cause a lot of fear in some dogs and they may try to escape and run. Most dogs have their own comfort place in the house – it could be in the bathroom or under the bed or in a particular room. Make sure that they can access that place and let them stay there. Remember, if the dog runs away outside at such a time, it will become even more stressed and unable to come back.
2) Music or television can sometimes help drown out the loud noises disturbing your pet. There are music cd’s made specifically for anxious dogs and for calming. This is one time when you can put your own TV on a loud noise and try to act as if everything is normal. Divert your pet’s attention away from what is happening outside.
3) Positive reassurance and extra attention can help your pet relax during fireworks displays or thunderstorms. Let them know you’re there for them and things are going to be ok. If they like cuddles, hold them close. Some dogs like to stay in touch with our hands and feet – whatever makes them more reassured, try to do that.
4) Natural remedies can help a dog calm down or aide in relaxation during times of stress. Pet stores usually carry a wide variety of drops or chewables that have natural calming ingredients. Try them out and if you find one brand which works, keep that at hand.
5) Distracting and redirecting the dog to a specific activity can help put their minds on something other than the noises. Try playing with the dog or asking it to do commands and reward with a treat.
6) Some dogs will tolerate a cotton ball in each of their ears. This helps to muffle the sounds that are frightening the dog. Try to be careful with this though, a foreign body can cause even more stress. And don’t jam it in too hard.
7) There are specially made jackets called Thunder Coats that are said to help dogs who tremble during fireworks and thunder noises.
Dogs hear at a greater decibel than humans. Keeping them safe indoors while reassuring them is the best way to help your pet through a stressful time. Safety and security is the most important things you can provide.
Under no circumstance should you scold the dog for acting like this – they are already stressed and need love at this time.
Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail