Preparing dogs for the firework season
- Help your dog by creating a comforting ‘den’ where they can hide. This could be inside a wardrobe or cupboard, or behind a sofa.
- Pad it with old pillows and blankets to soundproof it. In the weeks leading up to firework season, give your dog access to this den at all times.
- Give healthy treats and praise when your dog uses it, to build a positive association.
- Don’t force your dog to go into the den you’ve made if they prefer a different hiding place.
- Use a pheromone plug-in nearby. Pheromones are scents that calm dogs, but we can’t smell them. They’re available from pet shops.
What should I do on firework nights?
- Take your dog for a walk well before fireworks are due to begin.
- Keep doors, windows and cat and dog flaps closed.
- Draw the curtains.
- Play music with a repetitive beat to help mask the sounds.
- Don’t comfort or reassure your pets, even though it’s tempting. They will feel your anxiety and so their fear will be rewarded and encouraged.
- Never punish your pets. It’s not their fault they‘re scared and it adds to their anxiety.
- Ensure your pets are microchipped, so if they escape from the home, there is more chance you will be reunited.
- Let cats hide where they like – do not try to tempt them out.
- Don’t pick up cats or restrain them if they are scared: cats prefer to control how they cope.
What should I do to help small pets and wildlife?
- Partly cover hutches and outdoor cages with blankets, so they’re more sound-proofed.
- Make sure your pets have hiding places and secure areas where they can feel safe.
- Give plenty of bedding – this helps keep noise out and provides a hiding place.
- Ensure the bonfire is nowhere near any pets.
- Hedgehogs may think an unlit bonfire is a great place to sleep. So build the fire as late as possible and disturb it around the bottom before lighting, to let any wildlife escape.