A very popular way to mark the occasion is by using fireworks to light up the skies.
Their fear of loud noises and flashing lights is because of dogs’ extremely well-developed senses, which are designed to help them avoid danger and remain safe.
1. Be prepared
Get in touch with your neighbours and local authority to find out when and where fireworks might be set off so that you can prepare for what’s to come.
If you already know that your dog finds it difficult to cope with fireworks, consider arranging for your dog to stay with a trusted friend or family member. If this isn’t an option, then you might want to consider hiring a pet sitter through platforms like Rover.
Otherwise, try to create a comfortable, safe, and inviting area for your pup in time for the fireworks. Close the windows and the curtains to shield them from as much noise and light as possible.
2. Exercise your dog
Before the display, take your dog for a walk to reduce their energy. Just like humans, dogs find exercising calming and, the less energy they have to worry, the better.
3. Slowly build up your dog’s exposure to the noise and sight of fireworks
Desensitising your dog over a prolonged amount of time will give them the opportunity to learn to get used to it.
Starting weeks before the fireworks, play fireworks videos on your phone. At first, keep the volume low and build it up over the days and weeks.
You can train your dog when you’re walking them by waiting a while until they are tired and then playing the sounds on your phone.
4. Reward positive, non-reactive behaviour
Whether it’s during the training period or the actual fireworks, give your dog their favourite toy and reward them with tasty treats for trying to stay calm.
5. Stay calm
It is important that your pup doesn’t see you making a big fuss about the noises, as this will signal to them that there’s something to be afraid of.
6. Distract your dog
Use calming music or something similar to drown out the firework noise.
You can also play games or offer them a new toy to focus on and get distracted by.
It is best to start the distraction activities before the fireworks can be heard or seen. Once they’re worried and fearful, they won’t be able to focus on eating or playing. So, try to engage them in these activities before fear can set in.