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How to help your dog this bonfire night

Every year it seems the fireworks start earlier and earlier and if you have a pet it is no fun. 

Our Basset Hounds are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to coping with fireworks.

One is totally terrified and the other sleeps through the whole thing.

Darcey on the right is completely fearless, we’ve had her from being a puppy and nothing much bothers her – bonfire night included. We took her to a scouts bonfire night a couple of years ago and she never batted at eyelid.

According to the Dog’s Trust those exposed to different experiences such as loud noises between the ages of three weeks and 16 weeks are often able to cope with frightening noises.

We had from being eight weeks old and by the time Bonfire Night came she was 12 weeks. She slept through the whole thing which explains her indifference to it.  

In contract Dexter is a rescue dog, he was two when we got him so we’re less clear about his history. He is terrified of fireworks and paces up and down panting.

What we do on bonfire night: 

  • One of us usually stays in during the evening just to be around and offer reassurance
  • We tend to give them a decent walk earlier on in the day to really tire them out. 
  • We live quite high up so its difficult to shield them from the noise but we do close the curtains and put the TV on
  • We try not to give Dexter too much attention and keep things as normal as possible.

Other suggestions from the Dog’s Trust include:

  • Feed your dog before the fireworks begin as he may become unsettled and not want to eat during the fireworks.
  • Make sure your house and garden are secure during the fireworks as fear may make the dog act out of character and he may try to escape.
  • Try to settle your dog before the fireworks start – if your dog is in familiar safe surroundings it will help him cope with the noise.
  • Provide a safe hiding place – at noisy times around bonfire night, make sure your dog has somewhere safe in his or her favourite room, perhaps under the table. Close the curtains and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out the firework noises.
  • If your dog responds well to certain music, make a compilation and play it at a reasonable level to drown out the sound of the fireworks. Alternatively, put your radio on.

More information from the Dog’s Trust, including a range of free sound-based therapy and training materials can be found here

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