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Making Fireworks Night fright free for dogs

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Being a doggy owner has given me a whole new perspective on Bonfire Night. I spent a small portion of my childhood in Hong Kong, so was exposed to a large number of exciting whizzes and bangs in what is the firework capital of the world.

However, a lot of the sparkle goes out of the 5th of November when you see your bemused pet cowering in a corner with a ‘is this the end of the world’ face on.

Tin Box Dog – despite being a gun dog breed – is petrified of loud noises. The poor pup runs for the safety of the dining room table at the first pip of a firework display. Otherwise, in the normal world, she is a lively, confident and cheeky little lady.

Dog on beach
TBD in her element

We hate seeing her shaking about something that we know can do her no harm but that we can never explain to her. So each year we look for different ways to try to make the experience of Firework Night/fortnight/month less uncomfortable for her.

Here’s a few of the things we’ve tried:

  • Make a safe space – TBD’s safe spaces are under the dining room table or between two of our sofas. Where ever she shoots for, we let her stay there until she is ready to come out as dragging her from a place she feels safe will make her worse
  • Create a distraction – TBD loves her Kong which we fill with Primula cheese for her to slurp on. Licking is a very calming activity for a dog as it’s something their doggy mum used to do to them as a puppy. We also turn up the radio or TV to disguise the noise outside
  • Plug in a calming atmosphere – you can buy pheromone diffusers that are meant to settle your dog by dispersing calming chemicals. We found this a rather expensive option and have had more success with safe spaces and distractions.
I also put the question out on Twitter: do you have tips for keeping dogs happy at this time of year? Here’s some of the great advice that came back:

@rubys_rambles – #Fireworks can be frightening for us dogs! I recommend switch on the tv to block out some of the noise & draw the curtains. Always worth going out for walk with your human early in the day before the fireworks start. #FireworksNight

@cassoa – Close the curtains, turn the TV up and lots of cuddles! There’s some great info from @RSPCA_official here.

@Pawz4ThoughtUK (Harry the King) – My top tip is to keep your furry friend occupied with a decent sized bone & for humans to act as if everything is normal!

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Claire Hall

Tuesday 4th of November 2014

They do don't they! I've heard about a few silent displays around the country. Organisers are starting to realise the impact on domestic animals and pets. I really hope it catches on as I like a good firework display. Thanks for commenting and sharing x

Emma Harris

Tuesday 4th of November 2014

Cuddles with Daddy and trying to drown it out with the TV. Though the fireworks seem to get louder by the year! :(

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