The 5th of November is a night of family entertainment and spectacular firework displays being put on throughout the UK. It’s the latter, though, that can cause distress for our four-legged companions. It’s important that while we “remember, remember”, we don’t forget about taking steps to keeping our dog calm.
Sean Wensley, President of the British Vetinary Association explains that “many animals are extremely frightened of the loud noises and flashes that accompany fireworks”. The RSPCA also suggests that 45% of dogs in the UK show real signs of fear when they hear fireworks.
Here at Puppy Hub, we’re here to help you and your pup through this stressful time so that everyone can have fun, with the following tips to keeping your dog calm:
Your dog may want to retreat to somewhere safe within the house when startled by fireworks. Create one or two hiding places/dens around the house in plenty of time for them to become accustomed to it. It’s also important that if your pup does retreat, don’t try to get them out of the den.
Try and make sure that you make the most of the time you have before the fireworks are set off. Take your dog out for a long walk during daylight hours and feed them before dark, once the fireworks begin they may be too anxious to eat or venture outside.
Background noise can mask the sound of fireworks as they go off, this can be from your TV or Radio. These are likely to be familiar sounds for your dog so will help to settle them during this time. In addition, closing the curtains and doors around the house will block both the noise and the bright flashes from the fireworks.
It’s important that you yourself refrain from reassuring your pup as this can act to reinforce and encourage anxious behaviour. This does not mean ignore them, however. If we act as normal, our dogs are likely to reflect this, try to reward calm behaviour too.
It’s paramount to ensure your dogs safety on this night. According to Agria Pet Insurance, 35% more dogs are reported missing on 5th November than any other night throughout the year. Ideally, try to keep your dogs indoors. If, for any reason, they leave the house, make sure that their ID is on their collar with up-to-date contact information.