Dogs and Fireworks
Every year, tragic stories of accidents involving animals and fireworks make their way into the news, and it cannot be stressed enough that our animal friends must be kept safe while fireworks are being used around them. Around half of dogs experience significant levels of stress when fireworks are being set off, so it is likely that your pet will not take well to New Years’ celebrations.
Dogs experience fireworks very differently to the way humans do. While we see them as beautiful displays of light, animals sense them as dangerous explosions that trigger instinctive fear and flight reactions. A dog’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than that of a human, and so the smell of gunpowder will be much more pronounced for our canine friends; also the loud noises that fireworks produce often overwhelm dogs and can be very traumatic. There are things that pet owners can do, however, to make human celebrations less stressful for pets.
Before the 31st of December, find an area that your dogs can be kept safe in – somewhere sheltered and away from the flashes and noises of the fireworks. Some pet owners arrange for their dogs and cats to be kept at a kennel over New Years’ Eve, but if you wish to have your animals at home, anxious dogs should be let inside and kept comfortable.
Something that often helps with very excitable dogs is to get all of their energy out before the celebrations start: go for a long walk or run, play with them or do some exercises to tire them out before the big night. This way, they will more likely be relaxed and possibly sleep through some of the less intense fireworks. It will be much less stressful for both you and your pet when the fireworks start.
If your dog gets very anxious at the sound of fireworks, it may be necessary to have someone stay with them. If you cannot comfort your pet yourself, enlist the help of a family member or friend, or take turns spending time with your dog. Cuddles go a long way in reassuring our animal friends that everything is going to be alright.
In extreme cases of anxiety or panic attacks, it may be necessary to consult your vet to ask about a sedative that will either keep your dog relaxed or sleepy throughout the New Years’ celebrations. If you know that your dog is generally anxious, the sedative route is perhaps one that will be wise to consider.
In all cases, whether your dog is frightened or excited or unfazed by fireworks, animals should be kept away from them at all times. Accidents with dogs biting exploding fireworks happen all too often, and the consequences can be dire. While it is necessary to keep our pets happy through the experience, it is critical to keep them safe and uninjured.
We at WUMA! wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year, and may the year bring lots of joy and love with our animal friends. Remember to stay safe and think about your pets through all the celebrations!