Ireland has well and truly embraced Halloween and every year there are more events in Ireland that you can attend to join in the festivities. People hold parties, dress up, decorate their house and even dress their pets up to mark the holiday. But one downside of this spooky holiday are the fireworks and the anxiety that it causes our pets.
Every year it seems that people are setting off fireworks earlier in the year, with fireworks starting in some areas at the end of September.
But what does this mean for your pets? How can you help calm your anxious dog when people are setting off fireworks and bangers all around you? And are there dog anxiety medication that can help your dog?
Signs That Your Dog Is Anxious
If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms then it is likely that they are anxious about the noise from fireworks. Dogs don’t understand what the noise is, they just hear a loud noise that scares them.
They are pacing around and are very restless. If your dog can’t settle during the fireworks then they are obviously bothered by them. They may also bark excessively during this time.
Cowering or hiding their tail between their legs. This is a definite sign there is something wrong with your dog. It’s natural for a dog to cower and protect themselves when they are scared. They may also hide behind or under things.
If your dog is trembling or shaking then it’s another sign that they are scared. They also may pant more if they are anxious.
Dogs can often mess if they suffer from severe anxiety.
9 Ways To Calm An Anxious Dog During Fireworks
If your dog is displaying any of the signs above then it’s important to use some of the methods below to try and calm them.
#1. Close curtains and blinds to reduce the sound outside.
Curtains will slightly dull the sound from outside and will block out the flashes from fireworks. Anything you can do to mask the loud bangs will be of benefit to your dog.
#2. Create a comfy space for them to sleep in so that they feel relaxed and calm.
Make sure their bed is next to you so they feel safe and comforted. Maybe consider some extra blankets or a pillow.
If fireworks continue into the night then it might be worth bringing your dog into the bedroom with you for the evening. It’s much less scary for them knowing that mum is right next to them.
#3. Keep them calm during the evening.
The relaxing tone of your voice and your touch will be of great comfort to them. Just knowing they are not alone and you are keeping them safe will make all the difference.
#4. Keep them occupied with interactive games and puzzles.
There are lots of toys on the market to occupy your dog’s mind. You can fill a Kong (or similar toy) with peanut butter, freeze it and then give it to your dog. There are also puzzle toys which involve them retrieving a treat from the puzzle.
I would recommend giving your dog a toy to play with earlier during the day so they are distracted before the fireworks start.
#5. Play relaxing music.
Music is a great distraction. Again, start playing this earlier in the day so your dog is distracted before the loud noise starts. Some dogs also react well to being distracted by the TV or radio.
#6. Take them for a walk earlier in the day.
I would always avoid walking your dog late at night when fireworks are being set off. Give them their main walk earlier in the day and then just let them out for a quick bathroom break before bed.
There are too many people on the street once it gets dark for your dogs to enjoy their walk and the loud bangs will scare them.
#7. Make sure they are inside before the fireworks start.
It goes without saying that your dogs should be brought inside when fireworks are being set off. This goes for all animals.
#8. Update ID tags.
Make sure that your dog’s ID tag is up to date just in case they get away from you.
#9. Stay home with them and keep them company. Your dog is going to be less scared if they are not alone. You can talk to them, play with them and distract them from the noise outside.
If you do have to go out then you could opt to hire a Pet Sitter to come and keep your dog company. They can do all the things you would normally do with your pets to reduce their anxiety levels.
Dog Anxiety Medication
There are different options when it comes to medication for your dog’s anxiety. We have listed some options below that you can try with your dog.
Always check with your vet to make sure it’s suitable for your dog, especially if they are already taking medication.
Nutri-science.ie: Kalm Aid
This is for nervous dogs when they suffer from separation anxiety, are scared of fireworks or similar loud noises or just get really stressed in different situations. Kalm Aid stimulates the production of serotonin which is important to keep your dog calm and relaxed.
Adaptil is a synthetic version of the natural canine pheromone proven to help support dogs in a range of stressful situations. As well as helping dogs, it also has been shown to help puppies settle into their new homes and has reduced any potential anxiety.
It’s a well-recommended product and comes in plugin and collar format.
Petremedy.co.uk: Pet remedy
Pet Remedy works with the pet’s own natural calming mechanisms by mimicking GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) which is a natural calming agent present in all mammals, reptiles, and birds.
The Thundershirt applies pressure to your dog, through their special jackets, to relieve anxiety. It’s proven to be very effective in reducing anxiety and keeping your dog more calm.
If your dog is suffering from severe anxiety then you should consult with your vet as they may need a stronger medication to help them through this time of the year.
(Article includes affiliate links)