It’s that time of year again and many of you will be wondering how to keep your dog calm on fireworks night.
Although many large firework and bonfire night displays won’t be going ahead this November due to lockdown restrictions, dog owners are still concerned that the night will be filled with frightening bangs. So, how do you keep your best friend safe?
There’s no single answer to this, and you may have to use as many of the tactics at your disposal as possible. But, with the right preparation, the night needn’t be stressful for your furry friend.
Here’s our top tips to keep dogs safe and happy on fireworks night.
Before it gets dark
Make sure you have got the dog walking done early. If possible, before dark. This will ensure that no early or stray fireworks will interrupt your time outside.
Feed and let your dog out for the toilet early too. Dogs do tend to be creatures of habit, so work up to bonfire night by bringing these routine things forward by a small amount each day if necessary.
Does your dog have a favourite hiding spot? Or do you have a crate that is used as a safe space? Great! Then make sure this is ready for them. Add in favourite toys or a snuggle blanket for extra security.
Create a distraction
Draw the curtains and switch on the tv or radio to cover up any noise from outside. Is your dog usually active during the evening? Keep them occupied with fun games or treat-filled toys.
If your dog is like ours and snoozes during the evenings, then help encourage this by keeping the room warm and the lights low. Be aware, you may nod off too!
What worked for us
Our dog, Poppy, hates hearing a noise when she can’t see what’s making it. Last fireworks night she slept through it, but another local fireworks display held near Christmas, made her very on edge. She began barking and I couldn’t distract her or get her to settle.
Knowing why she was distressed I decided to try a different tactic. I took her up to the bedroom window, where the fireworks were visible from. We sat by the window and watched the fireworks. As soon as she could see what was making the noise, she became much calmer. I stayed with her, soothing her as we watched, so she was never alone.
Can I try this?
The more you get to know your dog, the more you’ll understand how to keep them happy. What worked for us may have the opposite effect on your dog.
As you spend more time with your dog, you will soon start to learn more about their personality and what makes them tick. For us, understanding our beagle’s curious nature and her desire to see what’s going on at all times, helped us find a solution that worked.
If you’d like more information on keeping dogs and other animals safe during fireworks, visit www.rspca.org.uk. For more useful advice on keeping your dog happy and healthy, check out our other posts.