Top tips to help your dog cope on Bonfire Night
Bonfire night can be a stressful time for dogs and it's common for them to be frightened of the loud bangs.
But it's easy for owners to spot signs of stress and take a few simple steps to help their dog cope.
Based on their research, experts at Guide Dogs have outlined some simple advice for dog owners:
Before Bonfire Night:
• Prepare a safe area for your dog to use as a den by putting a blanket over a table or place their bed behind the sofa.
• Start any new routine such as an earlier feeding or exercise regime a few days before. Feed your dog before the noise starts as this should encourage them to rest.
On the night:
• TV or radio noise will help comfort the dog. Owners should behave calmly, maintain a normal routine and draw curtains to avoid flashes.
• Watch for signs of stress in your dog such as trembling, panting, shaking, attention-seeking behaviour, destructiveness or whining and barking.
• If your dog shows signs of stress or restlessness, ignore them and reward any calm or relaxed behaviour.
• Make sure your dog is safe and can't escape through insecure fence panels or open gates.
• Make sure your dog is microchipped, and wears a collar and a disk so they can be easily identified should they escape.
• Let your dog go outside when fireworks are sounding, even if they show no signs of stress. This includes taking them for a walk when fireworks are likely to go off.
• Punish your dog for behaviour which is a consequence of being frightened.
• Leave them alone when there are fireworks nearby.
• Fuss or try to reassure your dog when they are frightened. This rewards the fear behaviour and will encourage them to repeat it.
• Take your dog to a firework display.
David Grice, head of canine research at Guide Dogs, said: "After a night of fireworks, some dogs can still be anxious and seem extra alert around sudden noises. If this is your dog, try to ignore its anxious behaviour and continue to reward calmness with attention.
"Some dogs may seek more attention than others and some may seem nervous at being left alone. Keep a close eye on your dog in the weeks following fireworks, and if you're worried about changes in their behaviour get advice from a vet or qualified animal behaviourist."