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How to keep your dog calm on Bonfire Night

Posted by Tracy Morgan on

Here are 10 Top Tips from Gretta Ford at The Pitter Patter of Tiny Paws to make the fireworks season less stressful for your Innocent Hounds.
  1. Ensure that the dog's den (if you have prepared one) or bed/ favoured 'safe place' is freely accessible - never ‘trap’ them in a crate though…. leave the door open!
  2. Be prepared with medication or calming supplements from your vet if you already know that your dog struggles with fireworks.
  3. Try to feed and walk your dog early, before it gets dark, and make sure you accompany them for toilet breaks in the garden (or give them immediate access back inside, at the very least), just in case a bang goes off while they're out there.
  4. Ensure that your garden is secure and your dog is wearing a collar with ID - nobody plans for their dog to run off scared but it happens more often than you might think at this time of year.
  5. Close the curtains and turn the TV/ radio/ music on.
  6. Provide tasty chews, filled kongs and food puzzle toys to keep your dog occupied.
  7. Try to act normal and not assume that they will be stressed by the fireworks or they may pick up on your anxiety.
  8. If they seem to be getting stressed, try to redirect them with a happy activity/ fun game, if possible.
  9. Allow your dog to use their own coping mechanism - some may prefer hide away in their den whereas others may actively seek comfort from you.  If they do come to you for comfort/ reassurance, don't be afraid to give it - you will not reinforce their fear by doing this... just try not to go overboard and re-direct them to another activity if you can, to keep their mind occupied with other things.  Bear in mind that a dog which is really scared will likely find it very difficult to focus on something fun!
  10. Don't shout at or punish your dog if they bark - it's likely to just make things worse and, if they're scared, it's the last thing they need!

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