I want to help my dog with loud noises
HOW TO HELP YOUR DOG COPE WITH FIREWORKS OR THUNDERSTORMS?
Tips to help your dog cope with fireworks and thunderstorms
It is very common for dogs to be fearful of loud noises, including fireworks and thunderstorms. While a certain degree of fear during big bangs is normal to keep dogs from danger, it becomes very stressful and unhealthy for you and your dog when this fear is extreme.
How will you know if your dog is scared of fireworks or thunder? Your dog will try to communicate with you through body language. Look for: ears back, excessive panting, drooling, shaking, hiding, barking excessively… these are all signs that your dog is nervous or afraid.
So what can you do?
Knowing your dog’s triggers and the signs of fear and anxiety are important for good pet ownership.
You can help your dog tolerate the noise with a gradual desensitization program - exposing your dog to sounds of fireworks, day after day, increasing the volume progressively, and rewarding your dog when he manages to calm down.
This can take quite a long time, so better to do it long before or after firework season. A few days before anticipated events, there are still many things you can do!
The best way to prepare dogs for thunderstorms or fireworks is to think like a dog. They feel scared as they are alarmed by the loud noises of the fireworks and thunder but don't understand that these noises can't harm them. That’s why they feel safer when they have a hiding spot. You can make your dog a ‘safe haven’ or a ‘dog den’. If your dog already has a hiding place then this space can be used making it as snug and secure for your dog as possible by adding blankets or bedding.
If you are making your ‘dog den’ from scratch, try to do this a few weeks in advance so that your dog knows it is a safe place when fireworks or thunderstorms start.