Holiday seasons are scary times of year for many furry friends with the noise of fireworks exploding in the sky. For some dogs, fireworks and thunder are the worst thing in the world and send them into a total tail spin. Some even try climbing their humans for a little comfort.
If you plan to be out New Year’s Eve, and know your dog is afraid of fireworks, maybe reconsider and celebrate at home to support your family member through a fear you cannot understand. There is a lot you can do to help your dog with their fear. Here are some tips to help you through.
Wear your dog out
During the day of the evening of fireworks displays, exercise your dog so it is tired and sleepy. An exhausted dog will not be so worried about loud noises, and hopefully sleep through all the noise.
Keep them safe
Keep frightened dogs indoors to keep them from running in fear. Some dogs do well in small spaces so pop them into a crate with a favourite toy, a treat and some water. Close the windows and curtains to minimize the light and noise to help them calm down. Cover the crate so it becomes a den where your dog can safely stay while its humans enjoy the New Year celebrations.
Aromatherapy is another good tool to help your pet cope with nervous situations. Use it on its own or in combination with other methods. Take one or two drops of lavender oil and rub it into your hands then softly apply to the fur at the back of the neck and rub a little into the bedding to promote a sense of wellbeing. It is best to use a small amount the first time you try this to ensure there is no allergic reaction. Also, always use top quality grade oils to avoid adverse sensitivity.
Pressure point coats
There are different types of coats on the market that work by putting constant, gentle pressure on a dog’s pressure points. It gives them a feeling similar to being held in your arms. This promotes a sense of calm and comfort for some dogs in nervous situations.
Play soothing music. Research by concert pianist Lisa Spector found that certain types of music, especially classical, can help your dog calm down when stressed. Start it playing before the fireworks start and it may even be your dog enjoys the music so much it forgets the noise of explosions overhead.
If all else fails
If all else fails, work with a trainer to desensitize your dog to the loud noises that frighten them into a frenzy. Sometimes you may have to try a combination of these methods to get good results if one or the other does not work. Just stay committed to helping your dog and you will eventually get it right.
Happy New Year’s to all of you!