Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen an increase on people talking about the effects fireworks have on their dogs.
Many dogs are frightened by the unexpected loud bangs and each year there are reports of dogs getting spooked and running away, some have run into traffic and are injured or sadly killed.
Find out what you can do to help you’re your dog during firework season and prevent any harm coming to them.
I have great memories of attending big, organised displays as a child. The town where I grew up would hold a huge event on bonfire night and I remember being thrilled and terrified at the same time. I was sure the lights would rain down on me and I would catch fire, which never happened thank goodness. I loved the street vendors selling all the glow sticks and sparklers, the hotdogs and toffee apples, it was magical.
Maybe because I was a child, I didn't think about the effects on our dogs, I mean, if I was terrified and I knew I wouldn’t get hurt, I can’t imagine what must go through a dogs mind.
I remember Sonny my dog at the time would sit and watch them from the window, seemingly unfazed on the occasions we had displays in the back garden. Growing up, I had no idea some dogs found fireworks stressful.
I’m totally going to show my age now, but there was no such thing as social media, in fact, the internet had only just been born but it wasn’t available to the public in the 80’s. A dog being frightened by fireworks probably wasn’t newsworthy enough to get printed in the national or local papers and that was our source of information, that and chatting to Beryl down the street.
I believe the explosion of the internet and being connected via social media has made us more aware of the effects of the loud bangs on our animals.
Were firework displays only on the 5th of November or has it always been the case that people let off fireworks weeks before and after?
I don’t remember as a child a weeklong build up to the 5th with fireworks being let off night after night, maybe they were. I think they have been more accessible to the public which is frightening. The only criteria to purchasing fireworks is that you must be over 18 years of age.
I guess I've been lucky that my dogs have not been bothered by fireworks, up until now, maybe I'd have been more aware of the effects earlier on if they had been.
Now the proud owner of a Newfoundland who was rescued at 5 years of age, Arthur is frightened of bangs. Living in the countryside and near a clay shooting range, bangs are a regular occurrence.
When Arthur first heard a shotgun, he bolted in the opposite direction towards home. Luckily being big and not too quick on his feet, we were able to catch up with him and secure him. Arthur is yet to experience fireworks since living with us, but here’s what I did to help him with the shotgun bangs.
I have an app that I used a lot when my Border Collie puppy Bertie came home. It’s full of all the everyday sounds that might be scary to a pup like motorbikes, roadworks and fireworks is on there too. I played the sounds from the app at a low level whilst he was eating, slowly increasing the volume day by day until we got to the point it was fairly loud and there was no reaction.
You don’t need a fancy app and most sounds will be available on YouTube, just be careful not to go too loud to start with and watch your dog for any signs of a reaction, if they react, it’s too loud.
Be prepared to do this over several weeks if not longer for some dogs. It’s not an overnight fix and dogs can develop fears at any time during their life so don’t take for granted they’ll always be ok with fireworks.
I also like to keep my dog’s minds busy; I do this by providing enrichment for them. If you want to know more about enrichment you can read my earlier blog.
By getting them to use their senses to sniff out food, take their time with chews, or have fun removing the stuffing from an unsuspecting teddy bear, enrichment calms the mind.
Set up a safe space for them and fill with their favourite blankets and toys.
You can take a look at our enrichment hampers that we sell that would be great to use on fireworks night.
Many of us would agree there's been a shift in public opinion regarding fireworks, most probably due to our shared stories on social media.
Personally, I think they should be for organised displays only and not sold to the public. At least if we know when the display is we can be prepared. Having said that, laser displays are equally impressive and far kinder to the environment, our animals, and people who struggle with loud bangs.
Also, I do find it a little odd that we celebrate the time Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament and failed, is it just me?
If you’d like to find out more about Luxury Dog Hampers hit the banner below.