Firework fears and noise phobias

How to minimise anxiety that many dogs suffer during the firework season

Many dogs suffer from anxiety during the firework season, with firework fears affecting

up to 80% of pets. If ignored, firework fears can progress to a more serious noise

phobia, whereby even the slightest noise causes panic and sudden, extreme and

excessive reactions.

To help minimise the anxiety that many dogs suffer from during the firework season,

here are some top tips to help calm and reassure your pet.

 

Preparing a den for your dog

You can prepare a den for your dog to retreat to while the fireworks are going off,

ideally a month in advance so they are comfortable using it when the fireworks start.

The den should be covered to protect your dog from both the sudden noise and

flashing lights of fireworks. If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate, it is a good idea

to cover the crate with a blanket or towel to enhance its feeling of security. A den can

be made from anything; for example, a strong cardboard box turned on it’s side, table

or chairs.

It is advisable to create the den where your dog feels safe and where it would normally

retreat to, such as in a commonly used room like the kitchen or living room where the

presence of people will provide some security. The comfort of this den can be further

enhanced by using an ADAPTIL Diffuser near to the den and/or spraying the inside of

the den with ADAPTIL Spray.

If your dog finds its own convenient bolthole, such as under a bed or at the bottom of a

cupboard, it should be accessible, comfortable and safe. You should wait until your dog

is ready to come out of its den or hiding place. Do not try to coax them out of their

hiding place, this can cause more distress to your pet.

Some stressed dogs can pant a lot more so make sure a water bowl is accessible at all

times this can be placed either in the den or nearby.

For a dog that doesn’t require a den

If there is not space or opportunity to build a den, an ADAPTIL Diffuser will provide

pheromone support while fireworks are going off. The ADAPTIL diffuser will only take

24 hours to become fully functional once plugged­in and should be plugged in

approximately two weeks prior to the event (to allow the pheromone to support your

dog in the run up to fireworks going off). Each ADAPTIL refill will last up to four weeks

and the ADAPTIL diffuser head will need to be replaced every 6 months. For constant

support in and out of the home an ADAPTIL Collar will last up to 4 weeks and can be

used in addition to the diffuser. The ADAPTIL Spray can be applied to the dog’s

bedding for shorter periods of support.. Keeping your dog entertained

A healthy treat or a favourite toy can be put in the den to distract your pet. A Kong

chew toy is ideal, as it can be filled with food to keep your dog’s attention.

 

Masking noise and light

Curtains should be drawn and blinds shut to muffle out any noise and reduce the

intensity of the flashing lights from outside. Play soothing music or have the TV on to

further mask the noise of fireworks. Doors and windows should be locked and remain

closed, this will muffle the noise but also prevent your dog from escaping if they decide

to bolt in panic.

 

Act normally

Seeing you acting normal during fireworks will also help your dog feel more settled. Try

to avoid leaving your dog on its own while the fireworks are going off, as it may injure

itself through fright. Do not punish your dog for showing fearful behaviour during

fireworks. If your dog is frightened comfort your dog as necessary but try and keep this to a minimum

as making a fuss of your dog can increase their reliance on you in the future.

 

Additional hints and tips

All dogs should now be microchipped by law. If your dog bolts during fireworks it is

likely to be hiding nearby, so you should search the local area. If this is unsuccessful,

phone your local police station, any veterinary practices, local kennels, rescue centres

and the dog warden to see whether your dog has been handed in.

Walk your dog early in the evening to avoid going out during the fireworks. If you are

worried that your pet is taking a long time to recover from the firework festivities, you

could speak to your vet about a behavioural therapy programme. A list of qualified

behaviourists can also be found on the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors’

website – http://www.abtcouncil.org.uk/. Does your dog have fear of fireworks?

If you are wondering whether your dog is having trouble coping with loud noises, check

the list of symptoms below:

· Trembling and shaking

· Showing increased ‘clinginess’

· Barking excessively

· Cowering and hiding behind furniture

· Trying to run away

· Soiling in the house

· Pacing and panting

· Refusing to eat

Check this link to take Adaptil’s Sound Sensitivity Questionnaire:

http://www.adaptil.com/uk/What­Causes­Stress­in­Dogs/Behaviourist­Fear­of-
Fireworks­Assessment

For further information on how to prepare your dog for the firework season, please visit

www.ADAPTIL.com/uk