Bonfire Night | Dog health | Wagging Tails dog blog

Remember your Dogs on the 5th November!

Lisa Suswain, Wagging Tails
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

With bonfire night fast approaching you may have already heard fireworks being set off in your local area. For many of us we enjoy the sight, smell and sound but what about your dog? In our house Izzie used to love sitting in the garden watching them go off and Bailey wasn’t bothered either way (he used to sleep through them!), whereas Lottie and Clara are not comfortable with them and like to be around us when they are going off.

Firework noise can reach up to 150 decibels and our pets hearing is far more sensitive than our own. Add to this the fact that dogs have no understanding of what fireworks are and it is not surprising that a large number of our four legged companions find it stressful when they are going off. If, like Lottie and Clara, your dog isn’t a fan of the loud bangs how do you keep your dog safe and relaxed?  The British Vetinary Association (BVA) has issued five top tips to help your pets cope with Guy Fawkes Night:

1) Prepare a den for your pet around two weeks before bonfire night and give them praise when they are relaxed there so they come to view it as a safe retreat.

2) Use pheromone products next to the den and around the home. These are scents that we can't smell but reduce a pet's stress.

3) Provide background noise and close curtains and windows on nights when fireworks are expected.

4) Remain calm yourself. Try not to reassure your pet as this often inadvertently reinforces anxious behaviour. Never punish your pet - remember if they toilet in the house it's not their fault.

5) Move small pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, to a quiet place indoors when fireworks are expected, and give lots of bedding to mask the sounds.

If your pet is severely distressed by fireworks and other noises the BVA encourages you to visit your vet and discuss treatment options. 

Another big danger at this time of year is dogs being spooked and running away. Walk your dog earlier in the day before fireworks are likely to be set off. The Kennel Club reported further information from PetLog in 2013 about the staggering 40% increase received in the number of calls about lost pets from 5th of November!

Don’t forget to check what your dog may be picking up on walks. Debris from fireworks may look enticing to a dog so be sure to check he isn’t eating anything he shouldn’t.

Golden Retriever watching Fireworks

If you would like further advice on how to make your dogs more comfortable on Bonfire Night please take a look at the Firework Fear and Your Dog top tips produced by the Dogs Trust.  

All of us at Wagging Tails wish you a happy and relaxed bonfire night!

Owner of beloved Golden Retrievers, Lottie and Clara, Lisa Suswain is the Founder and Managing Director of home dog boarding company Wagging Tails and a Kennel Club Assured Breeder.