View Full Version : Here We Go Again - Fireworks and Bonfire Night and Halloween

Brian M
25th October 2010, 09:03 PM

May we have suggestions from all members on how they cope and what if anything do they give as a calmer .

My four stay up stairs with me with a Dap Diffuser plugged in and also one plugged in downstairs for a week before the noisy nights ,we also used last year skullcap and Valerian tablets but they gave them the trots so we might try some liquid Kalmaid and Serum.

Any other thoughts. :?

Kate H
25th October 2010, 09:21 PM
Sorry, can't really help on this one as all five of my Cavaliers have just ignored fireworks - I think Oliver even enjoys going out to watch them! Aled jumped at a loud bang in the middle of the night last year, but then realised Oliver hadn't stirred, so he went back to sleep; I hope he'll be the same this year, though now he is more relaxed he can be a bit noise sensitive. What I do do is when there is a particularly loud bang say in an excited voice, before they have time to think about being scared, 'Wow! That was a big one - I think one that big deserves a treat!' and call them over for a nice titbit. Oliver doesn't need to be called - he hears a bang and comes for his treat, and I'm hoping Aled will follow him! It's easier if you've got an older dog who is OK with fireworks and the younger one learns from him - more difficult if you've got four all with different reactions...

Kate, Oliver and Aled

25th October 2010, 09:28 PM
There is a new product in the states called the "Thundershirt" that gets rave reviews. I am not sure if you could order it in the UK or if it would arrive in time.

I'd say try a DAP diffuser or spray and/or Rescue Remedy, but it sounds like you are already essentially doing those thing and those would be my primary options to. I do also have a CD of music specially created to calm dogs. Not sure if any of this stuff really works, but it makes me feel better to have done it. :) You could try downloading some tracks and playing it.

This is the one I have and play every day when I am at work to keep them calm:
There is also one called "Through a dog's ear" that I think you could download. I assume it works the same.

One more thing that maybe is worth a try is if you have a white noise machine to plug it in to block the noise from the fireworks. I was sleeping so well in the summer with the air conditioner on that I got a white noise machine now that it's too cold for the AC. I sleep a lot better and I don't hear any of the street noise or my neighbors annoying windchimes on windy nights.

Good luck Brian!

26th October 2010, 10:40 AM
When the fireworks start we all ignore them, Leo looks to us as to what he should worry about:thmbsup:
We tend not to pay any attention so he just looks up, looks at me then usually carry's on with what he's doing (ususally sleeping:roll:)

Kids banging on the door for trick or treat is another thing as he barks like crazy when someone knocks at the door:bang:

26th October 2010, 01:05 PM
The Thundershirt does wonders in calming Nina!

Margaret C
26th October 2010, 01:21 PM
There is a new product in the states called the "Thundershirt" that gets rave reviews. I am not sure if you could order it in the UK or if it would arrive in time.

I have never heard of a thundershirt before. Who else has used it & does it really work?

I think it could be uncomfortable for some SM dogs, if they experience touch as being painful, but would be interested to know if it really does relieve anxiety in unaffected dogs

I looked up the web site address.......


26th October 2010, 05:41 PM
I am very lucky mine do not seem to be affected at all. The only thing
they are really scared of are the wheelie bins in the lane. I have to agree
they are quite nasty :p I got the dogs over this by talking to the wheelie bins and
telling them how nice they are ..

What about a sound therapy cd, I have heard great reports about these,
you just have these gently playing in the background so the dogs and cats
start to get used to the sounds.



26th October 2010, 06:55 PM
Brian, you might also want to try the DAP spray on Bonfire night as well as the diffuser.

When Lucky was having pretty severe separation anxiety issues after I started working outside the house I kept a DAP plugged in and also sprayed his bedding with the DAP spray before I left each day.

Just a thought. I'm not sure if it was the DAP or just a natural progression with time, but Lucky is now a lot better about me leaving him.

26th October 2010, 10:16 PM
Hi Brian,
it's a difficult time of year isn't it? Maddie doesn't take too much notice thankfully unless she gets startled awake; Pippin is a different kettle of fish though. He's a bit sound sensitive anyway, and I always feel he has the potential to be worried by fireworks.

What we do is similar to you - we have the DAP diffuser already plugged in and working in the kitchen/living room (we never close the door in between so it's effectively open plan ), and rescue remedy in the water. We started this a week ago because we've already had fireworks :x and we'll probably have to keep it going until 2nd January. :mad::mad:

I try to keep to the same routine as usual, even to them sleeping downstairs in the kitchen which is what they normally do. If Pippin is worried by them when we're around he looks to us for guidance, and we just carry on as if there was nothing to hear/ nothing to see. Once we've all gone to bed, if he barks at them and is worried I just call down to him calmly "thank-you for telling me" (I don't suppose he really knows what I'm saying :)) and tell him to settle, which he does. I really try to make no big deal out of it. I must say, if we think fireworks are likely, or if they start, we do play our music quite loud. Both dogs are a bit partial to Green Day or ACDC icon_devil and relax beautifully.:cool::rotfl:

A friend with a very noise sensitive border collie (they can't use the microwave, or let it "ping" and had to change their fridge/freezer to on that made less noise) in the absence of a white noise machine, turns their vacuum cleaner on. That seems to help.

Good luck, and I hope the recent financial crisis means that people won't have so much money to send up in smoke this year.

29th October 2010, 03:47 PM
HI Brian,

Last year I was able to go out on halloween as I didnt have any dogs frightened of the noises (I only went to a party next door & left the radio on etc...)

This year I have Lucy who hates loud noises! So she he has her DAP collar on (for the past 2 weeks) - we had a lecture from the people who make the DAP range a while ago at work as all our dogs get them at their intake examination & she recommended this to me if its only really one dog thats affected. I also give her a squirt of Cassie's Kalm aid in her dinner & this is really helping - I stocked up on this from the vet the other day before they got sold out!! (the vet nurse told me that I can give Lucy 2 squirts if she is very stressed as she weighs 5kgs).

So far we've had fireworks almost every night & Lucy is getting better - unless there is an awfull lot in one night - so I am dreading the weekend, but I will be home with them this year so hopefully we'll get through it peacefully!

Cathy Moon
29th October 2010, 07:19 PM
This has worked for me with all 3 of my dogs. I wouldn't do this if the fireworks were right next door, though; it works if the fireworks are down the street.

Have one person to one dog ratio, with dog on leash. Have the dog's entire meal of dry kibble in a treat bag, with little bits of something yummy mixed in, like chicken or cheese. Walk the dog in a familiar area (their own back yard or garden) but make sure it's outside in the noise. Continuously feed the dog while the noise is going on and have a positive cheerful attitude.

This worked for India and Geordie when they were 2 years old, one year after they had been terrorized by the eejit neighbor kids setting off firecrackers right outside our kitchen window when our puppies were only 1 year old (we weren't home, but found the evidence all over our backyard and the pups were distraught :x)

It also worked for Chocolate at 3 years old. Several people in our 'new' neighborhood set off the professional type fireworks, and the kids set off M-80s.:shock: She is desensitized to it, and will go outside on her own without flinching.

30th October 2010, 01:19 PM
None of mine are bothered much by them, though Lily will bark at some louder ones! I would emphasise to bring both cats and dogs inside for (at least) 24 hours -- there are nasty people out there who will do cruel things to dogs and especially cats (especially black cats) on Halloween :yikes. Given Halloween is on a weekend I'd keep cats and dogs in today/tonight as well. If people don't have indoor only cats (all mine are...) then at least keep them safely inside in a room with a bed, litter box, water, or crated with a small litter box, for the duration.

Tags and chips are SOOOO important! The pound is always packed with post-Halloween dogs that have run off in fear and many of these will end their lives in the pound as their families won't find them or may assume they will come home in their own time. Often dogs will run very far... and not be at the pound a family checks. And in Dublin, dogs from many areas of Dublin do NOT get sent to the main Dublin pound but to pounds located in Kildare or Meath! So it can be especially hard to track down a lost/stolen/strayed Dublin dog... :(

Here are some suggestions from Dog Training Ireland for dogs, from their Facebook page:

Fireworks - 12 Step Programme from DTI
by Dog Training Ireland on Friday, 29 October 2010 at 16:48

1. Bring your pet indoors during firework season - they should under no circumstances be sleeping outside.

2. Give them a comfortable & safe place to sleep/hide with lots of bedding that they can hide under - inside a crate, covered with a sheet/blanket is ideal.

3. Close all blinds/curtains during the fireworks.

4. Turn up the volume of your radio/TV during the fireworks to help drown out the firework sounds.

5. Do not comfort them in soothing tones or speak to/look at your dog when they react to the fireworks. Ignore all their reactions. Reacting to them only serves to confirm in their own mind that there is a problem. However, you can distract them by playing with them or practice training exercises with food rewards.

6. Give them a stuffed Kong toy with biscuits and soft foods such as pate/soft cheese in their crate/bedding area - the licking action releases natural endorphins that will help relax your dog.

7. Kalm Aid is a supplement available in tablet and liquid form. This product helps to increase serotonin levels in the brain and can help to elevate mood and relax your dog.

8. Invest in a DAP(Dog Appeasing Pheromone) diffuser, spray or collar, this releases pheromones similar to those produced by the lactating bitch which help calm both puppies and adult dogs.

9. In very extreme cases your dog may need to be given a sedative - contact your veterinarian for advice on this. It is vital that ACP is not given to your dog in this case, this only serves as a muscle relaxant but leaves your dog completely conscious throughout. Using ACP during a firework episode can increase noise phobia in dogs.

10. Keep your dog on lead during walks in firework season - a normally obedient dog can become disorientated/startled and run away from you or out in front of a car.

11. Make sure they have a dog tag with your phone number on their collar - Pets often stray because they become frightened/disorientated.

12. In preparation for the New Year start a de-sensitisation programme. This can be done using a firework sound effects CD - For more information on how to do this please contact

30th October 2010, 07:32 PM
Dylan isn't bothered but Poppy barked a few times so I put Classic FM on the radio, now she isn't at all bothered. :)

Brian M
30th October 2010, 08:01 PM

My problem is Poppy who starts Daisy off who starts Rosie off then Lily joins in cos they must be barking at something .:?
I bought " Soothing Animal Solution " from


It came today ,so I might try some later if the girls get too noisy:?

Ps I hope all my pussy cats at work are OK ,I shall check them all in the morning when I go and feed them at least Young Josephine and
her five babies are safe .

Rj Mac
31st October 2010, 06:18 PM
We are very lucky, our 4 don't bother at all, we Charlie doesn't really count on this though...as he's deaf, but the other 3 don't bat an eye lid,

My Aunt on the other hand, has a Yorkie, and Westie, the Westie is not at all bothered, but the noises from the fireworks send her Yorkie into a panic, and i know that she has to get something from the vet to help settle him, i'l give her a call to ask about it:thmbsup:

brid kenny
31st October 2010, 06:57 PM
I think spaniels are bred to cope with gun shot noises? Mine keep thinking someone is at the door. I am more worried for my little bunny who is in the shed. I keep checking in on him as it's very noisy now. It would be far too stressful for him to be brought inside especially with two dogs barking at him!!!

31st October 2010, 09:08 PM
The Thundershirt does wonders in calming Nina!

I have tried the Thundershirt on one dog, not for thunderstorms though, just for general anxiety. I thought I saw a difference, then wasn't sure. I need to try again and keep better notes:)

If you don't have a Thundershirt you could make a body wrap with an ace bandage, i have had those work on a lot of dogs.

Brian M
5th November 2010, 01:24 PM

Well here we are for the next two nights its tin hats on ear plugs in ,Dap diffusers plugged in ,drops in the water ,kalmaid at the ready and under the bed with the girls .Just hope all my cats at work are OK .:(

5th November 2010, 01:50 PM
Good luck for tonight Brian :)

Jasper is the same, he hates the bangs, he goes all pathetic looking love him, I do ignore him and I hope I dont add to his nervousness, Gabby is okay she will take it in her stride. We got the kitten this year so I guess I will find out later how she is with the fireworks. Thankfully it as been quite quiet leading up to tonight, and there is a display in our local park so I hope everyone will go there.

Hope everyone enjoys bonfire night and keep safe :)

5th November 2010, 06:50 PM
all ok bri& everyone else? the fireworks are going full pelt round here at the mo,ive got radio blasting & both girls have had their bach rescue-theyre both fast asleep,jels on my knee as i try to type, i made sure they were tired out with walks& play today too.im v.lucky as somebody else said my older ruby isnt bothered so last year being jels 1st bonfire night she wasnt bothered either,she looked at rubes asleep,looked at me& i(whove always loved bonfire night )happily said oooh exciting!

i do hope youre all doing ok tonight behind the barracades..

Brian M
5th November 2010, 07:48 PM

Fireworks going off but so far so good Pops has just spotted and woofed at an Irish Wolfhound on the telly programme about air ambulance on and I have just finished watching an RFU cup final in NZ so had telly up a bit more .daisy is on floor snoring ,Pops is by my side with one eye on telly ,Lily is by me chewing a rope toy and Rosie is in a radiator bed snoozing just hope The Dacre Street Mob are OK .

5th November 2010, 08:13 PM
Glad you are having a quiet night Brian. All good here, it is my first time round with Poppy and fireworks. She doesn't mind the nose but did bark when she saw the firework in the sky. I turned up the telly and completely ignored her. I believe making a fuss reinforces the fear. She was fine after a minute.

5th November 2010, 08:16 PM
Very noisy here despite the rain!! My two are ok, Barney woofs a bit but not too stressed in the house. Cassie is asleep on my lap at the moment. She's ok until she going into the garden then the pair of them charge around barking like mad, thankfully they settle after their back inside :)

6th November 2010, 09:45 AM
We were out walking a few nights ago with a friend who owns a 9 year old Cavalier called Millie.
As we passed a field there was an almighty bang as a massive firework went off. :yikes Poor little Millie flopped straight the ground and stayed there quivering whilst Leo didnt even flinch but continued to sniff a very interesting post that no doubt someone else had wee'd up:sl*p:

Im not sure why he doesnt seem bothered but Im very glad

Brian M
6th November 2010, 06:13 PM

Well the Dacre Street Mob are all OK thankfully even though I got down a bit later than normal as I had to take the girls to Neston where the groomers are based but that was after we had a good walk , and what a wonderful fresh sunny morning it was with the tide in and the wind gently blowing off The Irish Sea ,it was nice .As we were late getting to work when I got there Big Ginger was outside the yard patrolling the pavement looking up and down the road for me, waiting for his breakfast with his sidekick Little Fluff as ever with him, and also there was Josephine and Tufty 2 and Tiddles so we had five waiting for me .
So far tonight not one bang and glad to report last night seemed a bit quieter than normal so the four girls are all fast asleep and smelling nice and looking pretty after five hours at the beauty parlor .But last night with all four on the bed with me (Dawn slept in another room ) I must have had no more than two hours sleep as they always seem to chop and change positions one after another and then Lily raided the toy box and dropped her chew rope on me at five O'Clock ,oh well same again tonight then back to normal ,but just heard some fireworks going off .:shock: