With the holiday season right around the corner, there is one date in the calendar that could cause your dog great stress. Bonfire night may be a wonderful time of celebration for some, but it can be a very traumatic experience for your furry friend. The constant loud bangs and flashes in the sky can not only frighten your dog, but also make them feel extremely anxious.
Being prepared for the big night is vital in making sure your dog feels safe and secure during the busiest time when fireworks are let off.
It’s always a good idea to know your local area. Are you situated in a residential area where your friends and neighbours might have a small gathering to let off a few fireworks? Or are you near a public location such as a park? Often councils will hold bonfire nights with large firework displays, knowing if your local community will be holding an event will help you understand the calibre of fireworks they will be letting off. You will then expect louder sounds and take extra time to prepare for the night ahead.
Take your dog for a walk before it gets dark. Some families with young children may let their fireworks off earlier in the evening, you want to make sure your dog has been able to relieve themselves and that they are back home before it gets too dark.
Once you return home from your walk it would be a good time to feed your dog. If you wait and use food to comfort them once the fireworks begin they might feel too anxious to eat. After they have been for a good walk and eaten the chances of them feeling more relaxed are increased. Also, make sure their water bowl is always topped up throughout the night.
If your dog has a favourite spot in your house such as under a bed or table, make a little den for them. Fill it with their toys, blankets and perhaps some of your clothes. This will help them feel safe and secure when the fireworks begin.
Make sure all doors, windows and curtains are shut. You don’t want your dog getting spooked by the loud noises and escape into the streets.
As the fireworks begin there are a few things you can do to help your dog relax:
Cover the noise by turning on the TV or radio. This will help draw out the sounds from outside and distract your dog.
If your dog comes to you for comfort make sure you give them plenty of attention. They might rely on you to reassure them that everything is alright.
If they do decide to hide somewhere in your house, it would be a good idea to occasionally check on them. However, don’t try and tempt them out of their hiding place, it could cause them more stress.
If you need to go outside for any reason, shut your dog in a room. Also, tell everyone in the house what room the dog is in. The last thing you want is someone to unknowingly allow the dog out if the front door is open.
If your dog is extremely nervous it’s also recommended to try ‘swaddling’. By wrapping your dog in a drying coat; fleece or similar provides a warming effect, bringing on sleep and relaxation.
Tell your dog off whilst fireworks are being let off. They might be feeling stressed and this could make them feel worse.
Take your dog with you to see a firework display. Not only will the loud bangs and bright flashes frighten them, being surrounded by large groups of unfamiliar people will only make the matter worse.
Everyone at Chudleys hope you have a fun and safe bonfire night.