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Tips to help your dog through firework season

Fireworks are unpredictable, loud, bright, and have a certain scent which can lead to many dogs believing that they are a threat. It is completely natural for them to be afraid as these factors can trigger their fight or flight instinct as a response to the threat. This will often result in the dog either barking, growling or staring (fight response) or running away, hiding, shaking and whining (flight response).

Provide physical and mental stimulation before, during and after the fireworks

The fight and flight response causes stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to flood the system. This prepares the body for either running away or fighting the perceived threat. Additional exercise can help to use this excess energy and break down the additional stress hormones. In turn this can help to calm the body and manage stress.

Try some indoor activities such as tug or hide and seek. (Never exercise your dog outside during fireworks)

Mental stimulation also offers a good way to keep your dog distracted during the fireworks. Mental exertion can also tire your dog out so that they can potentially sleep through some of the fireworks. Try something like a Lickmat or Dog Comet Treat Locker.

Remove visual and auditory stimulation

Fireworks are accompanied by bright lights and loud bangs. Dogs do not understand these visual and auditory stimuli like we do and it can result in them becoming over-stimulated and stressed. To limit their exposure to the stimuli, close curtains so they cannot see the fireworks and muffle the loud bangs with the tv or radio.

Incorporate a natural remedy into your management plan

If you feel your dog could benefit from a calming remedy, try something containing natural ingredients that works alongside the chemical messengers in the brain and nervous system.

  • BB Herbal Anxiety Drops (Topical)

Contains antioxidant ingredients such as apigenin which binds to the receptors in the brain to promote calmness.

Can be applied 20 minutes prior to exposure. One drop to tips of each inner ear, bridge of nose and under chin.

  • Herbal Pet Supplies Chill Drops (Oral)

Contains valerian root which is believed to block nerve transmissions in the brain that stimulate activity, therefore having a calming effect.

Use occasionally or up to once an hour as required. 1-5 pipettes on tongue or add to food or water.

  • Pet Remedy (Environmental)

Pet Remedy offer a range of plug ins and sprays that can be used in the pet’s environment.  Also containing valerian root. The scent of Pet Remedy comes from valerenic acid which is very similar to the neurotransmitter (GABA) which is responsible for calming nerves.

Plug in the diffuser prior to fireworks exposure. Spray Pet Remedy spray on and around bedding before and during exposure

  • Proflax Calm and Collected (Oral)

Contains adaptogenic herbs which are carefully selected to help the body adapt, adjust and recover from the stress of fireworks.

An easy to feed oil that can be added to any type of food.

  • CBD

CBD (Cannabidiol) can be used to manage stress. CBD has been shown to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and its receptors.

Just place a few drops under the tongue or add to food.

Comfort you dog

As fear is an emotion and not a behaviour, emotions cannot be reinforced the same way a behaviour can. Dogs do not decide that they want to feel fear and therefore by comforting them, we will not reinforce this fear and cause them to be more fearful in future. Give your dog as much comfort as they need during stressful periods.

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