The top 5 DogBlog tips for keeping your dog safe and well during fireworks!
1. - DINNER - We all feel full and sleepy after eating a meal, so make sure your dog is fed and relaxed to lie down before the fireworks begin. Also take your dog for a good walk before the fireworks start or do some obedience with them, this will stimulate their mind and remember stimulating their mind makes them mentally exhausted after at least 10 minutes, so this will also make them sleepy and want to rest.
2. - DEN - Make sure your dog has a safe place to retreat to, its bed, its crate, its kennel and make sure they are safe and well protected. Dogs are den animals and like to be in smaller protected places, it makes them feel secure and more relaxed. Conduct a safety check to make sure your dog is not in harms way whilst you are out when the fireworks are on. Check for any potential hazards around if your dog does panic. If you have to tie your dog up, make sure they are safe from harm and away from fences that they could possibly jump over and cause injury to themselves. Ensure that their bedding is accessible and comfortable. Try and minimise the noise and fireworks flashes too, consider closing the curtains and leaving the television or radio on (as long as they fireworks arent being played on these devices!).
3. - DISTRACTION - Make sure you distract your dog during the time the fireworks are on, play games with your dog, have their favourite toy and interact with them in a positive way. Make it a fun time for your dog to play and get out and about with you. Again, this is mental stimulation, so it helps to use their mind and tire them out as well, to then encourage to go and lie down and not stress. If you are not going to be home, consider enriching their environment with lots of toys and treats, making the area nice and safe and positive for your dog. Consider a distraction so your dog doesn't focus on the noise when the fireworks are happening.
4. - DESENSITISATION - Many pets are helped through desensitisation programs, there are many CD's and DVD's available to prepare your dog weeks prior to a fireworks event happening. These are very successful if followed correctly and its best to speak to your vet or behaviourist about which products they recommend using. Following these programs and over weeks, your dog will become more used to the noises and desensitise to the fireworks.
5. - DAP - This stands for Dog Appeasing Pheromone. They are a plug-in device, similiar to an air freshener, which releases calming pheromones into the air. They should be used in the room your pet is going to spend the most time in and used for 24 hours a day for 2 weeks prior to the event occurring. These devices are only recently available in Australia, so please check with your vet as to what they recommend.