Bonfire Night is approaching, which means dark evenings and firework displays are on the way. Although Guy Fawkes Night is supposed to be a fun annual celebration, it’s important to remember it can be traumatic for your dog.
The loud bangs of fireworks and the sudden flashes of fire can startle your pup and this can cause a range of symptoms that could put your dog in danger. Anxious dogs might experience symptoms of shaking, crying, panting, hiding or even running away in fear.
Here are some tips to keep your dog safe this Bonfire Night.
1. Prepare for Bonfire Night in advance
If your dog is really disturbed by loud noises, leaving them alone for long periods around suspected firework displays could end badly. Begin preparing in advance by researching the dates of firework displays in your area to make sure your dog isn’t left unaccompanied during these times.
Although Bonfire Night falls on Friday 5th November in 2021, the firework displays aren’t just limited to one night and the loud bangs of fireworks can often be heard for the entire week.
2.Walk your dog during the daytime
Avoid taking your dog for walks in the evenings around Bonfire Night and instead opt for daylight strolls. Most firework displays happen after dark, and the loud noises can startle your dog and cause them to run, especially if they’re off the lead.
Try to give your dog a long and stimulating walk during the daytime to tire them out ahead of the evening.
3. Turn on the TV or radio
Although the supermarket ASDA has begun selling low noise fireworks, there’s no guarantee that these will be used in displays in your local area and it’s best to prepare for noisy nights.
You can try to mask the sound of fireworks by distracting your dog with some familiar noises. Pop the TV on or even play some of your favourite music to distract your dog from the sounds.
4. Shut curtains and blinds
It can be tempting to spot fireworks from your window, but while the glowing evening sky may be beautiful to you, the sudden flashes could startle your dog.
Try to keep your curtains or blinds closed, to avoid any sudden scares for your pup.
5. Secure all exits
Check all windows, doors and gates ahead of Bonfire Night to make sure there’s nowhere your dog can escape. Scared dogs can bolt, so secure your home.
6. Make your dog feel safe
If your dog is scared, it may make loud noises or act out. Don’t get angry with your dog, as this could worsen the situation. Remain calm and try comforting your dog or distracting them.
Try to engage your dog with toys, but don’t put pressure on them to play. If your dog would prefer to isolate themselves, or lie in a quiet room, try sitting with them to calm them down.
7. Keep your dog away from fireworks as much as possible
It might seem like a good idea to familiarise your dog with fireworks so they’re accustomed to the noises and lights on Bonfire Night, however this should be avoided at all costs. If you don’t know how your dog will respond to certain sounds or their behaviour around unknown stimuli then playing similar sounds could be a very bad idea.
We urge you not to attempt to take your dog to a firework display under any circumstances!
You can still enjoy the festivities while also ensuring Bonfire Night isn’t a traumatic time for your dog.