Bonfire Night: How to keep your dogs safe during fireworks

With Bonfire Night fast approaching, Lancaster’s Bay Vets say the time is now to start preparing your dog to reduce the stress they may go through during fireworks.

Veterinary Nurse Ashleigh Burkitt said “It’s important that, as soon as you get a dog, you start to get them used to potentially scary stimuli, even if they’re an older rescue dog you might have adopted or even if it’s nowhere near Bonfire Night.”

“We encourage desensitisation; the best thing is around a month before to start playing firework noises from a CD or YouTube and rewarding dogs for not reacting.  Prevention is always better than a cure, because once there’s a phobia it can be hard to break”.

It’s estimated nearly half of dogs in the UK show signs of anxiety and fear at the bright lights and cacophonous noises that come with fireworks, and Ashleigh reinforces this.  She said, “While every dog is different, there are many who can end up having seizures or anxiety or even wetting themselves when fireworks are going off.”

The RSPCA says it’s always worth seeking advice from your vet, as there are many remedies that can help to soothe our pets who may have a particularly nervous disposition.  Bay Vets’ general advice is to walk your dogs before it gets dark, so there is a lower chance of your dog being caught out in the open when the festivities begin. 

In the evening, make sure you close the curtains and either put on some music or the television, to drown out at least some of the noise.  They also recommend making an inside den, such as a crate with a blanket over it, stocked with treats and toys to keep your dogs’ mind off the stressful fireworks while we all enjoy them.

An example video of fireworks sounds that you can use at home to help your dogs.