It is that time of year that many dog owners fear, fireworks night. For some dogs this can be a traumatic time and for owners who may feel somewhat helpless. Dogs automatically scan for threats in the environment which is why loud bangs and strange scents can trigger anxious behaviour. It is really important that owners know how to calm their dog on bonfire night. We have pulled together some simple tips that should make the whole event less stressful for dog and owner:
1. Exercise during the day
Regular exercise during the day is an extremely effective way of calming your dog. The aim of this regular exercise is to induce a feeling of tiredness in your pet in the evening, in the hope that they will be asleep, or too tired to notice nearby fireworks. Going for long walks or playing a few games of fetch in the afternoon are perfect activities. It’s important to make sure your exercise is finished in daylight, as being outside when fireworks are going off can cause your dog to feel even more vulnerable and anxious.
2. Maintain Normality
When indoors, the disturbances from fireworks can cause dogs to become agitated, causing them to either move erratically, or hide away. If your dog demonstrates this behaviour, it is important not to force them to stay in one location. Act normally and happily throughout the evening, without drawing too much attention to their anxious behaviour. Dogs look to us for reassurance. If you’re acting negatively or displaying signs of concern, this will worry your dog even further. By maintaining a regular routine and a calm atmosphere your dog will begin to feel more at ease.
3. Block out the noise and sight of fireworks
You can make your home feel safer by ensuring windows and curtains are closed to shut out as much external noise as possible. Leave the television or radio on so there is something to distract your dog. Also, try not to leave your dog alone when you know there are going to be fireworks.
4. Prevent escape
Sadly, the anxiety dogs can feel during fireworks season can lead them to bolt and go missing. Preparation is key to prevent this happening with your dog. For instance, make sure the garden is secure, and that your dog can’t easily access the front door. You should also ensure that your dog is wearing an ID tag. Should your dog escape, these ID tags can make them much easier to locate.
But rest assured, anxious behaviour caused by fireworks is temporary. If you have taken steps to make the environment as relaxing and normal as possible, they shouldn’t have a lasting effect on your dog and they’ll be back to their usual self in no time at all. We hope this has helped with what to do with a dog on bonfire night.
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