Updated: Oct 23, 2019
It’s less than two weeks until Bonfire Night so please start preparing now, especially as some celebrations might start around Halloween and the weekend before. Coopy doesn’t have severe reactions (barks and shows some distress) but my former pet dog pulled half of a door frame off before 6.30pm one Bonfire Night.
Here’s our guide to making it easier on your pets:
Keep your Coopy inside when it is dark and walk them for as long as possible during daylight hours and away from any parks where people might be setting bangers off (this depends where you live!). The more tired your pet, the less they will react. Try to time eating so they do not have to roam the garden in the dark, take them out for their business (listen out first for any local displays first), stay outside with them and bring them back in.
Try not to leave them alone on Bonfire Night – find a pet sitter or stay in with them. If you really have to be out, leave loud music on to help muffle the outside sounds. Create a den with your dog’s blankets, they will look for safe places that smell nice and compact spaces to retreat to. Don’t leave your dog the whole place to roam around, isolate them to the room where their dog bed and toys are kept.
DAP products (dog appeasing pheromone) appear to help ease discomfort and relax some dogs, sending out the pheromones as if from their mother a few days after birth. For medium to severe cases, use either a collar and plug in diffuser or both. Search on the internet for the best deals, the most popular brand is Adaptil and prices vary but the products are not cheap. As with humans, the science is inconclusive but it may have a placebo effect on everyone!
You can also help by not reacting when loud bangs happen, your dog will often take the cue from you so ignore all noises and carry on with your business. Do not pour affection or fuss on your dog at this point, doing this when they are stressed and nervous only makes their state worse, simply acknowledge their noise with a calm ‘thank you’ or ‘just fireworks, Coopy.’ Only bring out treats, toys and affection when they are calm again. You can try techniques such as playing similar sounds to desensitise them but remember you have to do this over a long period of time for them to learn. Starting on the 4 Nov is no good!