Do you have a dog that struggles on bonfire night? Heres our top tips on making this time of year as stress-free as possible for you and your dog!
1. Pre-plan! If you know your dog is frightened by loud noises avoid exposing them to it as much as possible.
2. Provide a den, or hiding place, where your pet can feel more safe and secure. Dogs like to hide where the noise is at a minimum, and they know better than you where it is quieter. So if your pet has already chosen somewhere that makes them feel safer then you should allow him/her to use it. Try to make it darker and even quieter by throwing a thick blanket over the space, partially closing doors, or providing a big cardboard box for them to curl up in. Place food treats and/or a favourite toy inside the den to keep them occupied and to distract them from the noise. Never lock your dog inside the den and always allow them to come out of their own accord when they feel safe to do so.
3. Increase your pet's feeling of security by plugging in an ADAPTIL pheromone diffuser as close to their hiding place as possible. The diffuser should be used several days before fireworks are expected in order for it to work to its full potential. ADAPTIL pheromone collars are also a great way to relax them during this time.
If you are interested in purchasing an adaptil or want to find out more information about how they work then click this LINK
4. Avoid being outside with your pet during noisy events. Before fireworks events take place, walk your dog when its still light outside so that they don’t need walking during the time of fireworks. This allows them to toilet before the noise of the fireworks make him/ her too scared to go which then leads to more distress and potentially toiletting in the house.
5. A stodgy, high carbohydrate meal (with well cooked rice or pasta) given late in the afternoon may help your dog feel more sleepy by the time the fireworks start going off which will mean that they will find it easier to relax and possibly sleep through it.
6. Whilst fireworks are going off, try to ignore fearful behaviour including panting, shaking and whining. If possible try to distract your dog with training, new toys, play, tasty treats or chews or putting their treats in a Kong sealed with peanut butter to distract them from the noise and keep them occupied. Don’t tell them off for any bad behaviour that is based on fear- this will make their fear worse! If stroking your dog calms them, then it's okay to do. Try to behave as you normally would towards them, and try not to react to any noise or flash yourself such as checking your pet's reaction as that can make it worse for them
If you are interested in purchasing a Kong or want to find out more information about them then click this LINK
7. Switch on the TV to drown out the noise from the fireworks. Again, try to behave as normal so don't put the radio or TV on very loud because this risks adding to the noise burden which then causes them more distress.
8.Make sure all windows, doors and cat flaps are securely closed during a night of fireworks. This will reduce the chances of your pet escaping which then puts them in danger, and will also reduce the noise.
9.Don’t leave your pets on their own when fireworks are going off. Pets will be more relaxed when they have a familiar face with them during this daunting time.
10. Sedatives are a no-no in the treatment of firework phobias for two reasons, firstly for the possible side effects which your pet could experience and also because the animal will never learn how to deal with the phobia if they are being sedated every time they encounter the occasion.