Halloween will soon be upon us when the ghosts and ghouls are abroad. Trick-or-treating, partying, bonfires and fireworks all make for the festive celebration. However, spare a thought for our four-legged friends, many of whom do not relish the prospect of sudden noises.Many dogs are upset by the noise and flashes of fireworks. Loud, sudden bangs can cause fearful reactions such as cowering, trembling, flight from area, loss of toileting habits, destructive behaviour and excessive barking.
Dogs and Fireworks: Behavioural first aid
- Dogs should be kept indoors and, where possible, in a room without windows or with curtains drawn.
- A radio, music or TV will help overshadow the occasional noise outside, especially if the music has a steady, rhythmic beat.
- Anxiety in the animal can be reduced by altering feeding regimes. Feeding later in the evening will encourage the animal to eat during what are anxiety-creating periods.
- Licking objects such as Kongs filled with peanut butter will help reduce stress.
- Increasing the level of carbohydrate in the animal’s food and adding Vitamin B6 will also help; This should be done a week or more before Halloween
- Make earplugs out of moistened cotton wool. Squeeze out excess water and roll into a long thin cylinder and twist into dog’s ears so as to pack the ear canal. Care must be taken that the cylinder isn’t too thin and goes too deeply or so fat that it cannot be secured.The plug should be secure and firm but not so tight as to irritate the dog.
- Certain drugs can be useful but must be given early so they take effect before any noise occurs. Your vet should be able to advise.
- The use of Dog Appeasing Pheromones (Adaptil) has been shown to be very effective in firework phobias.
- Consider putting your dog into Wenden Kennels. All the indoor sleeping areas are soundproofed with rockwool sound insulation and being boarded by a golf course we are one of the quieter areas at this time of year.
Contact us if you require more details
If your dog has severe reactions to fireworks or other noises then a programme of desensitisation and counter-conditioning is required, once the firework season is over. CDs of firework noises are available for use in such programmes so that you can carry out the work at home.
Often pheromone and /or drug therapy is required as an adjunct to the behaviour modification.
Contact us and Jim will be happy to discuss the appropriate regime with you.