Loud noises and flashing lights of fireworks can be very frightening for our dogs, but there are things you can do to minimise their stress. Here are Vet in the City’s top 12 tips on how you can help your dog stay safe and calm and during firework season.

Prepare your Dogs’ Den.
Your dog’s crate is their own safe space. If you do not have one, we recommend preparing one a few weeks before firework season as this will help reduce noise stress and anxiety. Their crate should be a quiet area, away from the hustle and bustle of the family. Cover this in heavy material to dampen noise and provide lots of blankets to burrow in. Train your dog to associate the area with positive experiences by leaving their favourite blanket, treats and toys. When fireworks go off they can choose to go to their crate, knowing it is their own little sanctuary.

Attraction distraction.
To reduce the impact of the sudden sound of fireworks, keep a radio or television on. Also consider giving your dog something to play with or chew such as a stuffed Kong or Odin toy.

Act normal.
Dogs are very perceptive, so if they sense any odd behaviour they can worry. Remain calm and cheerful but not overly fussy, and this will send positive signals to your dog.

Use positive pressure.
Gentle pressure around a dog’s chest acts like soothing swaddling. Dogrobes can be used as such a comfort coat. By wrapping your Dogrobe closely around your dog’s torso, creating a constant but gentle pressure, it produces an overall calming effect. This tighter coat can remain on for up to 2-3 hours.

Try rescue remedies.
Sprays, diffusers and drops containing natural oils or pheromones help to reduce anxiety by working with the body’s own messaging systems. We recommend Adaptil and Pet Remedy products. 

IDs please!
Loud fireworks frightening your dogs and frequent answering of front doors see more pets lost during bonfire season than any other. Make sure they are wearing their collar with a tag. And if you have recently moved house, ensure you update your microchip details with Pet Log.

Go for daytime walks.
If your dog is usually walked in the evening, consider changing the time of the walk during to earlier in the day to avoid loud fireworks or the rush of trick or treaters, who may scare your dog

Don’t dress your dog in a costume unless you know they’ll love it.
If you do decide that your dog needs a costume, make sure it isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, sight, hearing or the ability to breathe or bark.

Try on dog costumes before the big night.
If they seem distressed or show abnormal behaviour, leave them to their “birthday suit” or a simple festive bandana.

Keep the chocolate to yourself, guilt free.
All forms of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, can be dangerous for dogs. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Sweets containing the artificial sweetener xylitol are also poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and loss of coordination and seizures.

Leave pumpkins to the lattes.
Be careful not to keep lit pumpkins around pets. Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire. Although they are nontoxic, if large quantities of pumpkin or their seeds are eaten they can cause tummy upsets. If kept for a longer period of time, pumpkins can also form mould, which if eaten, can be very dangerous for your dog.

Remember remember, bonfires.
Bonfires are dangerous to wild animals such as hedgehogs because a pile of leaves under wood is an attractive nesting place. Build a bonfire as near as possible to the time of lighting and disturb the bonfire, preferably by moving it before lighting, checking carefully for animals hiding inside.

Happy Diwali and Howl-o-ween!

Dr Ciara