Presenter of hit Channel 4 show Dogs Behaving Badly, The Dogfather reveals his top tips for ensuring pets remain calm around fireworks on Bonfire Night.
While watching a fireworks spectacular is exciting for many consider how the loud bangs and flashing lights can affect our pets. With each year as firework displays get bigger and better they only get louder and more terrifying for animals.
Remember, remember to celebrate safely! Read our Top tips for staying safe on bonfire night
Graeme Hall, better known as The Dogfather from TV show ‘Dogs Behaving Badly,’ is one of the UK’s top dog trainers and dog behavioural experts –here he shares his top tips to ease the stress and anxiety fireworks night can cause our four-legged friends…
1. Snuggle up
A warm and cosy home makes for a happy pet. Even when you are out of the house, with smart thermostats, you can keep an eye on the temperature to make sure it’s perfect for your pooch. Ensuring the warmth level is right might even help to send your dog or cat to sleep throughout the loud bangs.
2. Use colour to calm
Chromotherapy (better known to you and me as colour therapy) is a proven treatment for reducing anxiety and promoting calmness, but did you know it also works on animals? Dim the lights for a cosy ambiance or use blue and purple tones to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere for your pets.
3. Play music
Music is a great way to distract pets from the sounds of fireworks whilst creating the right mood. Set up a soothing soundtrack to help calm your pet, you can’t go wrong with a few mellow tones. Even if you’re out and about, your pet can relax along as you turn on the stereo
4. Provide comfort through scent
Some smells are comforting – and it’s the same for pets, even more so with their acute sense of smell. Help pets cope with fireworks by recreating the smell of dog and cat appeasing pheromones, which their mothers naturally produce, by using sprays and plug-in vapourisers. You can find these at all good pet shops.
5. Make a cup of tea
Herbal teas have been used for centuries to calm the nerves, and remedies that include Valerian and Skullcap can be a great choice for dogs. Evidence suggests they may help in low-level cases of anxiety using the recommended doses over a period of weeks. Simply brew, allow to cool and then fill your pets water bowl so it’s there when they need to sip.
6. Keep connected
The winter months are about being surrounded by loved ones, and there’s every reason why your pet should be part of that – after all, they’re family. Stay connected to your doggy no matter where you are via smart home cameras such as the Hive Camera. The two-way audio function allows you to listen and talk to your dog so you can praise them – when they settle down of course – to make sure they are as happy as Larry, even when the loud bangs are going off.
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7. Create a cuddly den
Treat your pooch to a new cuddly toy or leave them with an item of clothing that smells of you so even if you’re not around they feel reassured. If you want to go one step further, create them a full on pet ‘zen den’ – a nice safe hideaway with all their favourite toys, comfy blankets and treats, to make sure they feel as loved as possible.
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8. Make the whole home a haven
If your pooch is more of a home-roamer, keeping constant track of their movements can be difficult. Use motion sensors, so that you can change the room’s temperature and light levels as your dog moves around.
9. Plan in advance
Take your dog for a lengthy walk in the morning and a short one when you get home from work, to avoid being out when the noises start. Feed them in advance of the fireworks too. This way, they are also more likely to be tired and able to fall asleep despite loud bangs and flashing lights.