Helping pugs with panic over fireworks

Some dogs breeze through it, but most donโ€™t. Yes folks, itโ€™s the noisiest week of the year, with both Bonfire Night and Halloween coming so close together, it feels like thereโ€™s fireworks on every night for up to ten days, and itโ€™s often a week of abject fear and misery for many animals.

Dogsโ€™ hearing is approximately four times more sensitive than ours, but itโ€™s not just the volume that affects them, itโ€™s the fear of unknown. Those loud noises signal danger to them, as does the flashing lights and the smell of burning and gunpowder.

The whole experience is completely unpredictable, with a cocktail of sensory overload that can send your poor dog into total panic. It can be profoundly upsetting and negative for them, but you can help.

Building a โ€˜doggy denโ€™ could help your dog feel safe and secure during the bangs and pops of fireworks. Itโ€™s about creating a safe environment that your dog can retreat into; a feeling of warm protection that could make all the difference.

Dogs Trust have special tips on creating the perfect den; โ€œThe doggy den should be built away from hubbub of the family home, somewhere quiet where the dog can rest peacefully. This will very much be a safe space for the dog, but they should be able to move in and out of the den freely; making it as cosy and snug as possible is a must, but your doggy should be able to see out of the den should she want to.

Concerned owners should seek veterinary advice before fireworks night if their dogs are very scared or panic due to fireworks.โ€

How to create a Doggy Den:

  • Use an indoor dog crate or chairs and/or a table covered in blankets to create the safe space โ€“ using blankets over the top will help muffle the bangs
  • Fill the den with soft blankets, pillows and a few familiar items that smell of your dog to make him feel comfortable, a few items smelling of their owner would be a bonus
  • Make sure your dog has access to clean drinking water in their den, a non-slip bowl would be an advantage to avoid spills
  • Add some of their favourite toys to the den; they have positive associations with them so will help them feel at ease
  • Keep a radio or the TV playing as this will help to mask the sounds of the fireworks outside

As an alternative, many dog lovers have found that โ€˜wrappingโ€™ their dogs makes them feel safe too. Perhaps because it feels like a hug. Instructions shown in Lili Chinโ€™s drawing: just donโ€™t tie it too tight!!

Enjoy your fun, be safe, and love your pugs.

Doggy drawings by Lili Chin, many thanks.

Grateful thanks to PDWRA adopter (twice!) Sam H-L for permission to use this text.