VSA Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Dorwest partner Amelia Steele gives her top tips on how to support your anxious dog this firework season…
“Every year on November 5th, an estimated 20 million people attend firework displays across the UK. But what is a fun night for some, is absolutely dreaded by many pet parents.
“According to the Kennel Club, nearly 50% of Dog Owners report that their dog displays fear during fireworks and reports of missing dogs increase by 100% during fireworks season. This can make it an exceptionally stressful time of year especially with Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali, and New Years, all happening within the space of a few months.
“If your dog is amongst those who are anxious and scared of fireworks, don’t panic, there are things you can do to help!
1. The first is to start a desensitisation programme as soon as possible. If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! All you need to do is play firework sounds on a low volume while keeping your dog entertained with something else to do. I like to either do some gentle training or offer a lick mat or Kong. The goal is that the firework noises should become background noise to your dog. Over time, you can gradually increase the volume, so they become used to louder and louder noises. Remember that if your dog starts to notice the sounds, you should turn the volume back down again – we want our dogs to learn that the noises are safe and never scary.
2. “Alongside this, I also recommend introducing Dorwest’s Scullcap & Valerian Tablets as early as possible. Herbal supplements like this can support with anxiety and help your dog to cope with the stress of fireworks better. These tablets can take a few weeks to take effect, which is why it’s important to introduce them as early as possible. I also like to use Valerian Compound in addition to the tablets as an extra support, as and when needed.
“In preparation for fireworks season, Dorwest have 25% off Scullcap & Valerian Tablets and Valerian Compound when purchased together as their Calming Combo. Use the code FIREWORKS23 to redeem your offer. See www.dorwest.com/calming-campaign-for-fireworks for more information.
3. “It’s also important to make sure your dog’s microchip is up to date and that your house and garden are secured. It’s common for dogs to get spooked and escape so it’s best to prepare, just in case.
4. “Finally, there are some extra things you can do on the day to keep your dog safe and help to reduce their anxiety…
- Close the blinds and keep the windows shut to help to keep the noises and flashes to a minimum.
- Set up a safe space away from doors and windows.
- Play calming music or put the TV on to help drown out any fireworks noises.
- Always take your dog out for a walk well before sunset and avoid taking them out once the fireworks start.
- And don’t forget to comfort your dog if they do get stressed out by the fireworks.
“You can also get 10% off your first purchase with Dorwest using the code AMELIA10.”
Head over to Amelia’s website for more behavioural & training tips, online courses and one-to-one coaching at www.ameliasteele.com