How to Help Your Dog this Bonfire Night
Bonfire night can be a tense time for dog owners. Fireworks cause lots of dogs to feel anxious and panicked, particularly at night. They’re often set off for weeks at a time too, which can really disrupt a dog’s day-to-day routine. We thought we’d share some of our tips to help your dog this bonfire night.
Walk During Daylight
If possible, swap your walks so you’re out exploring during daylight. Fireworks are less likely to be set off at this time, so you won’t have to worry as much about your dog panicking and potentially bolting while you’re out. Keep your wits about you though, particularly if you’re walking at dusk, as some families choose to set fireworks off earlier than you may have thought!
Walking your dog during the day will also help tire them out. A tired dog is often calmer in the house. Wearing them out before dusk will help your dog this bonfire night, as they’re more likely to settle down in the evening.
Create a Cosy Den
Every dog should have a safe space in the home. Somewhere they can retreat to when things get too much. It may be their crate if they’re crate trained, or a basket. Somewhere quiet and cosy for them to relax. Ahead of bonfire night, make sure your dog has easy access to their safe space and don’t disturb them if they’re there.
Don’t be alarmed if your dog makes their own safe space. My working cocker spaniel Woody has created his own den under one of our beds. Despite the many crates, baskets and cosy nooks I provide for him, he’s happier there. Hen on the other hand much prefers a pile of blankets on the sofa. Each dog is unique and feels safe in different scenarios.
Create Background Noise
Background noise, such as the TV or radio, is useful for drowning out the sounds of fireworks exploding outside. Each year Classic FM release their Pet Sounds series, which airs around bonfire night. It airs at 7pm on Saturday 2nd November and again on Tuesday 5th November this year.
Closing your curtains will also help dim any flashes outside. The trick is to keep everything as calm and normal as possible inside. You may want to keep the TV or radio on overnight too, so your dog isn’t frightened by fireworks late at night.
Don’t leave them home alone
Bonfire night is an incredibly stressful time for dogs. It’s important to stay as calm as possible to help them relax. Leaving your dog home alone is not a good idea, they feed off their owner’s emotions and many need you there to reassure them.
If you’re planning to attend a bonfire or fireworks display, ask friends or family to look after your dog while you’re out. Your dog will appreciate the company and reassurance while you’re away and you can still enjoy the festivities of the night.
Plugins and Vet Treatments
If your dog is particularly anxious around bonfire night, seek advice from your vet. Practices often stock a variety of calming plugins, sprays and supplements to help dogs feel calmer at this time of year. You may have to integrate them into your routine for a few weeks prior to ensure they have the greatest effect.
Thunder Shirts and anxiety wraps are another great tool to try. Similar to a weighted blanket, the shirts help feel dogs feel calmer when they wear them. You can fashion one out of old towels and blankets too if you prefer,
How are you helping your dog this bonfire night? Do they get spooked by fireworks?
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