Unfortunately, Bonfire Night isn’t as exciting for dogs as it is for us owners! For our canine companions, the noise and sight of fireworks can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
Here are our five useful tips that you can put into practice on November 5th to help keep your dog as safe and calm as possible:
- Create a comforting space
Many dogs will find benefit from having an area or a dedicated ‘safe space’ that they can escape to when the fireworks start. To do this, you can use an indoor dog crate with a blanket draped over the top and place your dog’s familiar-smelling blankets, bed and toys inside. Alternatively, you can cover a small table with a blanket and place a bed underneath along with their familiar smells. Ensure your dog still has access to clean drinking water in their safe space.
- Do your research
Check where and when Bonfire Night displays are happening in your local area so that you know what days and times to expect the fireworks. A good place to start is on Facebook or in your local newspaper. Why not also ask your neighbours to inform you if and when they are planning to let any fireworks off too.
- Early walkies
If you normally walk your dog when it’s dark, you’ll need to adjust your schedule so you’re not out and about when the fireworks start going off. Many dogs could react fearfully if they are caught off-guard by the loud noises, and potentially run off if they’re not under control. Ensure your garden is escape-proof if your dog does need to go outside to toilet in the evening.
- Distraction is key
By having the TV or radio switched on, it should help to mask the noise of the fireworks. You can also keep your dog occupied with some simple training exercises to distract them from what’s going on outside. We would suggest that you give your dog their evening Autarky meal before they become unsettled, otherwise they may skip their food because of the stress
- Keep calm and carry on
Try not to alter your behaviour or show your dog that you are worried. If you flinch every time a firework goes off, it will only add to your dog’s anxiety if they think that you are upset too. Don’t punish your dog if they cower or display anxious behaviours as this will intensify their fear. Interact with them calmly and try to stay as relaxed as possible.