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  • Nigel Sealey

How to help your dog cope with fireworks

The countdown to Bonfire Night has started and whilst for some it’s an exciting time of year, for others it can cause upset as they repeatedly watch their dogs in distress. We wanted to share our top five tips to help you and your four-legged friends cope this firework season:

Adapt your routine

It’s a good idea to walk your dog earlier in the day before it gets dark to minimise the risk of fireworks starting whilst you’re out. Make sure you keep your dog on a lead if you think fireworks may be let off, just in case they are startled. A longer walk than normal may also help to tire them out so they are more relaxed in the evening. Why not try an extra Bitesize session that week?

Stay home

We know it’s been said a lot this year, but it’s best to stay home where possible when you think fireworks may go off. Your presence will be comforting and will help to deter any destructive behaviour, which may be out of character for your dog. If left alone, they could end up hurting themselves whilst distressed.

Create a safe space

Often dogs will look to hide when they’re scared and may try get behind the sofa or under your bed. Whilst it’s important not to tell them off for this, try and create a safe and secure doggy den instead. You can use their bed, cushions and blankets to make a cosy space - a crate or under the table is an ideal spot as you can place a blanket over the top. Placing an item of clothing with your scent on might also help to keep your dog calm.

Mask sounds

Make sure all your curtains, blinds, windows and doors are closed to help keep the noise of fireworks to a minimum. Also, make sure there is normal household noise, such as the TV or radio, during the evening to help mask the sound. If you have Spotify, try ‘My Dog’s Favourite Podcast’ (yes it really is a thing!) for soothing background noise.

Stay calm

Dogs are very good at sensing how their owners are feeling and if they think you are worried it is likely to make the problem worse. Instead, try to stay as calm as possible and give lots of gentle praise for calm behaviour. Avoid going overboard with your praise though as this could needlessly excite your dog.

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