How to help calm your dog during fireworks and thunderstorms
Why is my dog panting during fireworks and thunderstorms. Short answer is – they’re scared.
Experts say, fireworks and thunderstorm phobia is real, is not uncommon and shouldn’t be ignored. If left unaddressed, they’re unlikely to grow out of it and often the true extent of the phobia is not shown until they’re 4-5 years old.
A 2010 study in New Zealand found that 46% of pets (including cats) were afraid of fireworks. Consecutively, firework nights are the busiest days of the year for animal shelters taking in dogs that have escaped their homes in panic.
Why is my dog afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms?
Fireworks are exciting for humans but have you ever thought how your dog might feel with the unexpected and loud noises during fireworks or thunderstorms?
The noise and unpredictability makes many dogs feel as though they are under threat. This activates their flight or fight response, they may bark incessantly, whimper or run and hide. In extreme cases dogs can become frantic and injure themselves.
They may display other signs of anxiety such as
- Whining, lip licking, yawning
- Ears back, tail down
How can I calm my dog down during fireworks and thunderstorms?
Simply apply our aromatherapy oil to the palm of your hands and massage directly onto your dog, behind the ears, onto the chest and forelegs and belly (if they like belly rubs). It is best applied before the event as it contains valerian which can work as a mild sedative (some dogs will have a nap) but is also of great benefit during the event, (we can’t always predict a thunderstorm). Find a place where your dog feels comfortable and spend time massaging them and talking to them in a calm and reassuring voice, you may find that sharing this experience brings you close together and, over time your dog may associate fireworks and thunderstorms as a great bonding session with you.
How to apply our aromatherapy essential oils to your dog
Other helpful tips
- Keep your dog inside during the fireworks and thunderstorms
- Keep windows and curtains closed
- If you are aware of fireworks give your dog a good amount of exercise during the day
- Leave your dog’s ID tag on incase of panic and escape
In the case of thunderstorms, experts believe that dogs may sense and become fearful of thunderstorms due to the build-up of static electricity in their coat, especially if they’re long haired. Gently massaging your dog with our aromatherapy oils can help to dissipate the static. If they’re especially frightful you can wrap them in a blanket or put them in a thunder coat after their massage.
Never resort to yelling or punishing your dog, this will just make them more fearful and they will learn to associate fireworks and thunderstorms with a distressful situation. Seek advice from your vet if symptoms do not improve.
Shop our natural aromatherapy remedies for dogs here.