It’s hard not to love bonfire night. Hot chocolate by the fire, wrapped up from head to toe, watching the sky fill with glitter; what’s not to love? If you’re a dog, then there’s quite a lot not to love about the firework season.
Fireworks can be very scary for our four-legged friends, and it’s important that we keep them as calm as possible. Some of the symptoms of a stressed dog include panting, drooling, pacing up and down the room, trying to hide away, and trying to escape. We’ve got some top tips as to how you can help your furry-friend to feel safer during fireworks:
1. Exercise them before it gets dark:
It’s a good idea to walk your dog at dusk before you know fireworks are going to start. Not only does this give them exercise which might help reduce stress and anxiety, but also gives them time to relieve themselves; reducing the likelihood of any little accidents during the evening!
2. Ensure they are microchipped and wearing their ID tag:
It is a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped and wearing an ID tag. However, this is a good reminder to have the details on both checked before bonfire night starts. If a dog gets scared, they can be unpredictable. We hope you don’t find yourself in this position, but if your dog does run off, it’s vital that all the details are all up to date so they can be returned to you as quickly and easily as possible.
3. Make sure they have a “safe place” that they can go:
Make sure you give your dog somewhere a place they can go that they find safe. If your dog is used to using a crate, then this can be a great place for them to hide away. Put a comfy bed inside and cover the crate with a blanket. You may even want to put some of their favourite toys and treats in there too to provide some distraction. Remember to leave the crate door open, so they can come and go as they please.
4. Keep their water bowl topped up:
When dogs are anxious or scared, they can drink more than they normally would. Anxious dogs tend to pant more, meaning they get thirstier. Ensure that you regularly check their water bowl throughout the evening to ensure it hasn’t got too low.
5. Reward good behaviour and avoid telling them off:
Make sure you reward your dog if they are behaving well or calmly, this encourages them to continue their good behaviour. If they are happy to, play games with them to distract them. Avoid telling your dog off when they are already scared, otherwise they can become even more distressed.
Remember to be there for your pooch, but to give them space if you can see that they need it. If your dog is particularly scared of fireworks, then it is always worth a visit to the vets beforehand who will be able to advise you further. We wish you all a happy and safe 5th of November!