Battersea Q&A: Keeping your dog calm on Bonfire Night
(Q) How can I help my dog Daisy survive the stress of Bonfire Night? Last year she found it very difficult to cope with the explosions and flares as people let off fireworks — and not just on November 5, but for what felt like weeks afterwards.
(A) Battersea canine welfare trainer Nathalie Ingham says: When animals are scared their automatic response is to flee, or hide in the hope that whatever frightened them goes away. Obviously the last thing you want is for Daisy to run away, so provide her with somewhere to hide where she feels safe. If she normally hides or sleeps in a specific place, make sure she has access to this area throughout the fireworks season and encourage her to use it with rewards of treats or toys.
A cupboard under the stairs or a table draped with a blanket or cloth makes an ideal place to hide. If Daisy is accustomed to using a crate, cover it and leave it open, with blankets inside — it’s very important not to shut her in a confined area — she could injure herself trying to escape. Allow access to all safe areas of the house.
It isn’t only the sound of fireworks that worries pets; the flashes can upset them too. Cover windows and draw the curtains to block out any sudden bursts of light. Keeping lights on in some rooms and leaving others in darkness will allow Daisy to choose where she feels safest.
Keep a radio or TV on. Music with strong beats is ideal when played at a level Daisy is happy with. And try not to walk her in the evenings when fireworks are being let off.
If Daisy is still very upset by the fireworks, you could also ask your vet about any products that can help pets cope.