Both Bonfire night and Diwali are a time of joy and celebration for many, but it can be overwhelming and distressing for our furry friends. The loud noises and bright lights of fireworks can cause anxiety and fear in dogs. In this blog post, we'll explore effective tips to keep your pet dog calm and safe during fireworks, ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable experience for both you and your canine companion. Get ready to learn and engage in proactive measures to create a peaceful haven for your pup on Bonfire Night!
Create a Safe Space:
Providing a secure and comforting environment for your dog is essential during fireworks. Here are some ideas to create a calming safe space:
- Choose a Quiet Room: Identify a room in your home where external noise is minimal and sounds of fireworks are muffled. This will serve as your dog's den during the festivities.
- Comforting Items: Add familiar items, such as their bed, toys, and a soft blanket that carries your scent. These will provide a sense of familiarity and security.
- Comfort your pets – buy them a chew toy, or give them their favourite treats as a way of comforting them.
Noise Management Techniques:
Minimising the impact of loud noises is crucial for your dog's well-being. Consider these noise management strategies:
- Close Windows and Curtains: This will help reduce the noise level and block out the bright flashes of fireworks, keeping your dog more relaxed.
- Play Soothing Sounds: Calming music or white noise can help drown out the sound of fireworks. Classical music or specially designed pet relaxation tracks are excellent choices.
- Allow your dog to hide inside if needs be – let them go under the table or in a room where they feel comfortable and safe.
- Close curtains and use the television or music to drown out any loud fireworks.
To ease your dog's anxiety during fireworks, try these practical techniques:
- Distraction and Play: Engage your dog in mentally stimulating activities and interactive games. This redirection can help divert their attention from the fireworks.
- If you are leaving your dog on their own, try leaving on the radio or the television. Not only is it a distraction to drown out some of the firework noise, but it will also provide comfort to your dog by making them feel like they aren’t alone.
- Provide Comfort: Comfort your dog with gentle strokes and calming words. Be a reassuring presence, but avoid excessive coddling, as it may reinforce their fear.
- Don’t punish or tell off your pets for being alarmed, scared, fretting, or having little accidents inside due to being scared.
Preparing in Advance:
Taking proactive measures before Bonfire Night can make all the difference. Consider these preparations:
- Change your walking routine: Most dogs require a minimum of one walk a day. Try walking your dog when it is still light before the noisy celebrations start.
- Check any firework displays that are planned locally so you are aware of when they will be. Also check with your neighbours to see if they are planning any unofficial fireworks in their gardens.
- Make sure your pets can’t get out the house during bonfire night celebrations and check that your garden is escape proof.
- Top up your dog’s water bowl – dogs can get thirsty when anxious or scared.
- Desensitisation: Gradually expose your dog to recorded firework sounds at a low volume, pairing them with positive experiences. Over time, increase the volume to desensitise your dog to the noise.
- Consult Your Vet: If your dog experiences extreme anxiety during fireworks, consult your vet. They may recommend calming aids or medication to help your dog through the stressful period.
Identification and Safety:
Ensure your dog's safety during Bonfire Night with these measures:
- Update your dogs ID tag: Confirm that your dog's tags and microchip details are up to date, providing a reliable means of identification if they run away, escape, become lost or disoriented.
- Keep Your Dog Indoors: Ensure your dog remains indoors during fireworks to minimise the risk of them panicking and running away. Take them out for bathroom breaks before the festivities begin.
By implementing these tips and strategies, you can create a calm and safe environment for your dog on Bonfire Night. Remember, understanding their anxiety and taking proactive steps to alleviate their fear is essential. With careful preparation and consideration, you can ensure that fireworks become less daunting for your furry friend.For the sixth year running, Classic FM are partnering with the RSPCA in hosting two special radio programmes for Bonfire Night to help calm and settle any anxious pets. Hosted by the wonderful Charlotte Hawkins, tune in on the 4th and 5th November from 5pm.