Best advice for dog terrified of fireworks

(26 Posts)
Inadays Fri 25-Oct-19 19:10:18

My dog is now 9 and every year he is frightened of the fireworks. I feel we’re not managing to help him much, other than by distraction, treats and calming drops. He tends to retreat and not want to come out from under the bed, or he hides in a corner.

Does anyone use a thunder jacket for their dog who’s found that it works? I have heard mixed reports and have no idea if my dog will take to it, but anything is worth a try. I am thinking of ordering one tonight.

I dread this time of year and would really welcome tried and tested remedies to help the poor thing get through this difficult period. My heart breaks for my dog. Thank you. smile

OP’s posts: |
11hairylegs Fri 25-Oct-19 19:12:23

Keep the doors and windows shut, when you let him out put him in a lead in case he bolts.
Tv or radio up loud, curtains shut and don’t make a fuss - they’ll take your lead.

Moondancer73 Fri 25-Oct-19 19:18:57

Try giving your dog porridge. You can feed it daily even before the fireworks start - it has a calming effect. Also, before you buy a thunder shirt try a tight fitting tee shirt, maybe a child's one that will cling as this can be quite effective too. Dorwest herbs skullcap and valerian is very good for settling nervy dogs too. Hope some of that helps.

Shosha1 Fri 25-Oct-19 19:38:17

I use the adapitil spray. On her blanket, collar and cushion. Wrap her up in the blanket and wedge her between me and the arm of the sofa. Only thing that works

Gingerninja4 Sat 26-Oct-19 08:08:45

Mine hates them after someone set one of and went of course flew towards us 4pm in afternoon

I find turning tv /music up loud before they start helps but obviously not work for ones that set of random times (11pm sort

TheFaerieQueene Sat 26-Oct-19 08:10:32

I use a thunder vest when DDog gets stressy. Weirdly not with fireworks - she couldn’t care less about them.
The vest is remarkable. She goes to sleep.

Inadays Sat 26-Oct-19 11:50:04

Thanks so much everyone. I will invest in some Adaptil and get him a thunder vest I think. Porridge is also a novel, but good idea. I know it makes me feel better in the morning! Thanks again

OP’s posts: |


babyblackbird Sat 26-Oct-19 12:20:13

Make him a den and fill with chews/ treats to encourage him in . It makes them feel safer. That's why he's hiding under bed. Or put chews etc under bed. For future there is a fireworks noise demo on dogs trust website you can use to counter condition them by having it on v quietly to start with and gradually increase volume provided they are not showing signs of stress. Prep for fireworks needs to happen from several weeks before the actual period. If you are on Facebook or instagram search up my amazing behaviourist - Pet Sense - Rosie Bescoby she has some amazing advice on prep for fireworks

pigsDOfly Sat 26-Oct-19 16:01:00

We've had two organised firework displays locally this week and my god they were loud. I'm dreading this evening.

My dog never used to be frightened of the noise but as she's got older she finds it harder to deal with.

She hid under one of the beds when during the first display but we were both sitting on the sofa when the second one started last night.

Made sure all the window blinds were shut, turned the television on and sat with my arms around her hugging her for the 30 minutes the noise continued, which seemed to work for her.

She licked her lips from time to time but mostly she just sat closely against me with her head in the crook of my elbow or under my armpit.

When it stopped she settled down with her body against my leg for a short while until she decided that she was okay; a rarity with my non cuddly, very independent dog.

Hate to see her so afraid. I hope you find something that works for your dog OP.

grannycake Sat 26-Oct-19 16:22:25

Our jack Russell was terrified but I got her a thunder shirt a couple of years ago and she now ignores them completely. Real game changer for her

SinglePringle Sat 26-Oct-19 16:35:17

A thunder shirt changed my dogs life with regards to fireworks. She was a panting, pacing, wild eyes bag of nerves. She can now sit and stay with us - is clearly still a bit unnerved but no longer looks / acts like a dog terrified of losing their mind.

CMOTDibbler Sat 26-Oct-19 16:48:51

I use an Adaptil collar for my stressy ddog who hates fireworks. It has had an amazing effect on him and as a collar lasts a month it covers all the random dates people let them off too

HappyHammy Sat 26-Oct-19 16:55:07

It's raining here so everything cancelled. My cat loved the fireworks and bad weatherand would cry to go out. I havent got a dog but it's horrible to think of them being scared . I've never heard of a thunder vest but it sounds amazing. Fireworks are a waste of money and pointless anyway.

BiteyShark Sat 26-Oct-19 19:12:57

I was really hoping we wouldn't get any until next weekend but they have just started angry

Perunatop Sat 26-Oct-19 19:18:16

Regrettably I don't speak dog language so cannot give your dog advice..........

waltzingparrot Sat 26-Oct-19 19:29:24

Are you in a position to go away for a week - a cottage in the middle of nowhere.

FLOrenze Sun 27-Oct-19 09:50:23

I discussed this with a relative of mine, who works with Guide Dogs. I was covering my dog with a blanket and sitting with her.

She said that they allow the dogs to do their own thing. I was reinforcing the fear and stopping the dog having her own coping method. We now just leave her to hide in a corner.

We suffer more from fireworks than most as the Country Park nearby hosts Weddings. Invariably they will let of fireworks.

Wheat2Harvest Sun 27-Oct-19 10:02:24

She said that they allow the dogs to do their own thing. I was reinforcing the fear and stopping the dog having her own coping method.

I agree. I do wonder if half the time the dog senses the panic in the blanket-and-remote-control-wielding owner when fireworks go off and responds accordingly. Many people who have family firework displays have dogs and they're not affected. They react to the noise (stand up, ears pricked, as one might expect) but aren't distressed.

One has to wonder why pointers and retrievers on a shoot can cope with the sound of gunshot without cowering in the bushes.

EleanorReally Sun 27-Oct-19 10:03:40

can you go out and watch firework display and leave your dog?

Moondancer73 Sun 27-Oct-19 10:04:08

I know porridge sounds very strange but apparently it works!

pigsDOfly Sun 27-Oct-19 12:23:51

Regarding the leaving the dog alone rather than sitting with it.

As I said in my pp I sat with my dog one evening during the fireworks and it really seemed to calm her down.

Last night, after it stopped raining, fireworks started up again.

We were both on the sofa, she stood up and looked at me. I stroked her and told her she was okay, she sat down and got herself a bit closer to me.

This time I didn't need to hold her and she stayed next to me sitting calmly until they finished - seemed to go on for about an hour.

Clearly, it's a case of horses for courses. Whilst it might not work for some, or even most, dogs, calmly reassuring my dog that she's okay works for her.

She has always looked at me for reassurance whenever anything makes her nervous when we're out on a walk. 'You're okay' seems to be all she needs to know.

BiteyShark Sun 27-Oct-19 13:06:17

* One has to wonder why pointers and retrievers on a shoot can cope with the sound of gunshot without cowering in the bushes.*

We did gundog training for over a year and my dog would try and climb up the back of my legs when they did the gun shot. Some dogs, even gundogs, don't like loud bangs.

missbattenburg Mon 28-Oct-19 06:56:18

You cannot reinforce fear. If your child is scared of something does cuddling him make he more likely to be scared in future? It doesn't. That's not how fear works.

You can be scared or worried yourself, if even on your dogs behalf. At which point - to your dog - you are likely to stink of stress hormones. Which I may increase the dogs fear.

You can also overwhelm your dog. Touching a dog CAN be mildly stressful for some dogs and so a dog that is scared already might not cope with being petted on top of that.

You can worry your dog if your behaviour in comforting them is very different to your normal every day behaviour. Dogs don't like strange and new behaviour. It unsettles them. They like routine and predictability.

Some good suggestions above on things to try but it's a case of experimentation with your dog to see what works best for them.

Long term then work to desensitise and counter condition your dog to loud bangs may also help. It's a slow and delicate process so worth reading up on and planning first before you try.

Gun dogs don't flinch at the gun because they are exposed to it during the critical puppy months in which they are learning about the world. Introduce a dog to anything during that time (in the right way) and the chances are high that they will be fine with that thing all their lives.

Voldethought Mon 28-Oct-19 23:34:33

I've been using the fireworks display on Alexa for a few weeks now to desensitise our elderly rescue and new puppy. It started of barely audible and is now fairly loud. Our rescue has also found a thundershirt very comforting too in previous years.

shinynewapple Tue 29-Oct-19 08:05:08

I think that the early firework displays this weekend may be because if Diwali. Unfortunately that leads into Halloween, two weekends of firework displays either side of bonfire night and bonfire night itself .

I tend to use the Thunder Shirt for the really bad nights when ddog is actually shaking, as he hates me putting it on him in the first place. We've spent the last two nights with background music and ddog wedged between me and the side of the chair.

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