With Bonfire night fast approaching it is a nightmare time of year for so many dog owners. Of course the main problem is that the 5th of November is just the start of the firework season and a lot of displays start before the 5th and continue long into the New Year.
So what should people do? How should dog owners behave in order to turn a stressed dog into a calm and happy dog? What’s the answer to the dogs and fireworks dilemma? In most cases it’s the complete opposite of what a lot of people are currently doing!
Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy (can be purchased on-line especially for animals – type in rescue remedy for dogs (or any other animal) in google).
These are flower and tree essences which have calming and reassuring effects for humans, children, dogs and other animals.
Skullcap and Valerian tablets or valerian liquid which is a herbal medicine that has calming and reassuring properties and can be very beneficial for dogs with firework anxiety and travel sickness. This can be purchased mail order from Dorwest Herbs:
Some homeopathic remedies can also be helpful such as:
Aconite – this works with dogs that have been frightened badly, particularly by thunder.
Borax – this works for dogs that are frightened by sudden noises.
Gelesium – this is for fear and anxiety from loud sounds and for trembling and shaking.
These remedies can be prescribed by a homeopathic vet.
This can be purchased from a vet (or internet) either as a plug in, collar or spray. The appeasing pheromone mimics the pheromone produced by lactating mothers which gives comfort to her puppies and helps reassure and calm anxious dogs in stressful situations. This can also be affective for dogs who suffer from nervousness and separation anxiety.
Sounds scary! Has a range of different CD’s that can be helpful when de-sensitising your dog to fireworks, thunder, gunshot noises, traffic and even baby noises in preparation for bringing a new baby home. Their website is:
The CD’s come with full instructions and does require quite some time in order to adjust your dog to the sounds.
The key point to remember is when you give attention, affection, look or talk to your dog you are nurturing their current state of mind. This means if your dog is stressed, panting, pacing, barking or eyes glaring by stroking and talking to them at this time will increase the behaviour.
The best thing you can do for your dog is to act as if nothing is happening and take no notice of any stressed behaviour. For dogs that pant, pace and run towards windows and doors, place them on the lead and keep them gently but firmly by your side. By keeping them still will cause them to calm down quicker as the pacing creates more stressed behaviour. Stay calm, do not feel sorry for your dog as this will communicate that he has something to worry about and keep strong positive thoughts, perhaps sitting on the floor with them while you watch the TV or read. It may take a little while but you will notice that your dog will gradually calm as your positive thoughts and calming presence will be the reassurance they need. When you pay no attention to their shaking and upset you will allow them to move on much quicker and come back to balance.
If your dog likes to build a nest or hide somewhere create a safe place for them to do so. Remember do not coax or reassure them like you would a child as this will make them ten times worse! Your calm and confident presence will give them the reassurance that they need.
Good luck and let me know in the comments below how you get on 🙂