October and November are a great time for autumn celebrations, with Halloween and Fireworks Night on the horizon. But while we gather around to watch the skies light up, we can’t forget about our furry friends who are often left terrified by the unexpected loud noises.
Their well-developed senses means that they experience sound and light on a completely different level to their owners, which often leaves them anxious and disoriented.
A puppy who is anxious or stressed will give indicators through body language. Some of these include; panting, shaking, hiding and having their ears being flat at the back of their head.
- Do not ignore your scared puppy: as with most things, ignoring it won’t mean it goes away. Do not ignore your puppy or their anxiety. When dealing with a dog that’s scared of fireworks, it’s important not to assume the behaviour will go away on its own. Our pups rely on us for support, so if you have an anxious pup it is vital to not leave them alone as this fear can unfortunately turn into a phobia if not supported
- Walk your dog during daylight hours: avoid walking your puppy during times when fireworks are likely to be let off to help reduce their anxiety. Exercising your dog during the day will also mean they will be more tired in the evening so they will be more likely to relax and remain less anxious
- Muffle out the sound: while we won’t be able to drown out the sounds of fireworks entirely; muffling to block the noise outside will help your puppy to relax. Playing ambient or classical music will help to distract your puppy with pleasant sounds, reminding them they are safe! You can also use a white noise machine or turn up your television volume, this allows the puppy to have a more constant level of noise
- Create a safe space for your pup: your anxious puppy may run and hide in a smaller corner in order to feel secluded and safe from the outside world. By making a safe space for your puppy you can easily keep an eye on their whereabouts and behaviour. Add their favourite blankets and toys for extra support and cuddles
- Distract and play! In order for your puppy to feel safe they need to know that their owner is unbothered by the sounds too and therefore do not need to feel threatened. See if your puppy will play with you like normal by offering interactive feeders and chew toys
- Use anxiety wraps: anxiety wraps create a slight pressure on the puppy’s torso creating a calming effect, similar to when we hug one another. It’s an easy way to make sure your puppy feels safe and secure this Fireworks Night
As with any medical or health advice it’s always best to speak to a professional first before trying anything new with your puppy.
Your local vet or Zigzag’s 24-hour support team are always available to answer your questions.