As we approach Bonfire night, celebrated on 5th November of each year, it is important for dog owners to remember to prepare their dogs for the evening’s events. Many dogs are extremely frightened by the sound of fireworks, or any other loud, explosive noises, such as thunderstorms. In some cases, dogs may even run away from their homes and in their panic-stricken flight, forget where they are.
Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve are common times for dogs to freak out when they hear fireworks or similar celebratory noises. However, by carrying out a few simple procedures, both during the lead up to the event and throughout the evening, dog owners can rest assured that they have taken the necessary steps to help their dogs feel as safe and relaxed as possible.
Before The Event
• Give your dog plenty of exercise earlier in the day.
• Research where and when your local firework displays are being held. Be sure to also check if your neighbours are planning anything so you can be prepared.
• If you wish to use any calming remedies with your dog, be sure to consult your vet beforehand, especially if your dog has any health problems, or is taking any medication and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Familiarise your dog with firework noises prior to the big night by finding an appropriate video online, or by purchasing a CD. Play this at a low volume during the weeks before the event.
• Make sure your dog is micro chipped and is wearing a properly fitting collar with his or her nametag attached, just in case they do accidentally escape. This way they can always be returned to you.
• Prepare a safe den for your dog to retreat to if he or she feels scared. Dogs often prefer small, enclosed spaces to make them feel safe. If your dog is crate trained, this is also a good option.
• Be sure to feed your dog in plenty of time before you expect any noises, as once the fireworks begin your dog may be too anxious to eat.
During The event
• Keep your dogs inside throughout the fireworks, preferably with human company. Never take your dog to a fireworks display.
• Turn on the TV or radio to distract your dog from the noise outside.
• Shut all doors and windows in your home and close any curtains/blinds. Doing so will block out any flashes of light, which for your dog can be just as scary as the loud noises. Be sure to also block off any cat flaps to stop dogs (and cats) getting out.
• Behave how you would on any other normal evening. Your dog will pick up on any strange behaviour. If you’re calm, happy and positive, your dog will pick up on these signals. In turn, you can reward their calm behaviour with their favourite treats or by engaging in some playtime.
• Give your dog something fun to do to keep him/her occupied, such as giving them a toy with treats hidden inside.
• If your dog approaches you for comfort, be sure to give them your full attention. Ignoring your dog could potentially worsen their behaviour and make them feel rejected.
• If you need to go outside, shut your dog safely inside a room before opening the front or back door.
About Jodie: Jodie starting working for Orvis UK in August 2016. As Digital Marketing Executive, she has the opportunity to be involved with a wide range of opportunities in the business. Her main responsibilities include managing the Orvis UK social media channels and blog, as well as providing support to the wider Marketing team. She has previously worked in a number of creative roles and has enjoyed writing from a young age, so is a regular contributor to the Orvis UK blog.