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Are your dogs prepared for Halloween & Bonfire Night?

To humans, Halloween & Bonfire Night are exciting events in our Autumnal calendar - however to dogs, this time of the year can be extremely stressful and frightening. So with Halloween and Bonfire night less than a month away and with the time frame in which people let off fireworks growing each year, it is important to remember that planning ahead can really help to reduce unnecessary stress for your dogs.

"Every year thousands of pets will suffer as a result of fireworks being let off. Blue Cross animal hospitals across the country see a marked rise in pets requiring medication during such stressful times, and many pets are brought into Blue Cross rehoming centres having run away from home." - The Blue Cross

Dogs have acute hearing, therefore loud bangs can be very uncomfortable for them, even causing pain in their ears. Trick or Treaters in costumes can also scare dogs, therefore it is recommended to walk your dogs on the lead and ideally before they begin their rounds.

We have put together our top tips for keeping your dogs as calm as possible during firework season:

  • Check when and where your local firework displays are - you could also ask your neighbours if they are planning anything

  • Walk your dogs earlier in the day before any fireworks start

  • Feed your dogs before you expect any fireworks to start as they may be too anxious to eat during loud noises and disturbances

  • Minimise flashes and bangs by keeping dogs inside with the curtains shut during any periods when fireworks are being let off

  • Close windows and doors to avoid your dogs trying to escape

  • If you answer the door to 'Trick or Treaters' make sure you secure your dogs in another room before opening the front door

  • Ensure your dogs are wearing up to date ID tags and are microchipped

  • Distract your dogs by keeping the TV or radio turned on - this can help block out some of the noise from fireworks

  • Remain calm and act normally - any changes in your behaviour could upset your dogs

  • Spend time with your dog and don't punish them if they are scared - shouting can increase their stress levels

  • Avoid leaving your dogs alone during these times

  • Know the signs - excessive panting and yawning can also be an indicator of stress, not just barking and whimpering

  • Never take your dogs to a firework display

  • Praise your dog for calm behaviour using treats or toys

  • If your dog wants to hide under the furniture it is best to let them to avoid adding to their stress

  • Ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water - anxious and stressed dogs will pant more and have increased thirst

It is also advisable to be aware of the laws surrounding fireworks. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess a firework in a public place. Fireworks cannot be set off between 11pm and 7am and unless retailers have a special license, they are only allowed to sell fireworks between October 15th and November 10th and between the 26th and 31st of December.

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