Surviving Spooky Season
The clocks have changed and the dark nights have started… This time of year can be particularly tough for dogs so we thought we’d put together some quick tips to help get your dogs through the spooky season!
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for firework season if possible. Dogs Trust have some great help guides to help desensitise dogs to fireworks with sound files you can use within the home to gradually build up to firework season. You can find them here.
There’s also lots of things you can do on day (or weeks as it now seems!!) to help keep your dog relaxed and safe:
- Fireworks seem to start earlier each year with many going off before Halloween. Try to walk your dogs in daylight hours when the chances of fireworks going off are very slim. If you can’t avoid going outside in the dark, try going after the legal firework curfew- 11pm (12pm on bonfire night). Make sure you keep your dog safe on a harness and lead in case they do get a fright.
- Create a safe space inside your home in advance and let them get used to it in preparation. Give your dog options for hiding and make them as comfy as possible. Do not used closed crates as this can make dogs panic more.
- Draw the curtains to hide the light and mask the sound with TV or music to try and create a more relaxing environment
- Go with the flow! Your dog may like to hide in a small area, but equally they might also prefer to be curled up next to you in their favourite spot. Let them take the lead if they are nervous and encourage support the decisions they make. Don’t confine a dog to one place in the house, let them go wherever they feel safest.
- Don’t get stressed. Whilst it’s never nice to see your dog worried, stressed or outright panicked, they pick up on any emotions you are giving off. Try to keep calm and relaxed, especially when you see and hear fireworks so they don’t associate them with negative emotions
- Distract, distract, distract! Try some enrichment games and activities. Snuffling and licking in particular is known to have a calming effect on dogs. They can also be distracted by a long lasting treat to see them through the evening.
- Make sure your house and garden are secure and your microchip details are up to date. Dogs are more likely to escape when they are frightened. Use a lead in the garden for toilet breaks if necessary and make sure you can be contacted if the worst happens and they do manage to escape.
- Don’t force your dog to face its fears. This can often make their fear much worse in the long run and they will struggle even more newt year. Reward calm behaviour with treats or a game.
- Some dogs benefit from Adaptil*, Pet Remedy and CBD oil to keep them calm, especially round this time of year.
- If your dog gets particularly stressed and frightened around this time of year, consider visiting your vet to come up with a strategy which may include medication.