The nights are drawing in and the days are getting much colder, which can only mean one thing: winter is coming.
To some, that thought is depressing and means locking themselves away for the coming months, but there are plenty of celebrations to get us through those long dark nights.
One of these celebrations looming on our calendars is Bonfire Night on November 5, the celebration of the failure of the Gunpowder Plot.
It’s a great celebration, with sparklers and bonfires and fireworks with friends, but for our four legged furry companions, those fireworks can pose a serious source of stress and fear.
Dogs are famously scared of loud noises, and fireworks pose a massive problem for our pooches when it comes to bedding down for the night.
So here are the RSPCA’s Professor Daniel Mills’ top tips to help you calm your good boy down during fireworks.
First off, in preparation for the inevitable fireworks on the big day, the RSPCA recommend walking your doggo in daylight hours which will avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off.
This will have the dual effect of tiring the dog out, which may well just stop the little thing from getting to worked up about the scary bangs outside.
Close windows and curtains in order to muffle the sounds of the exploding fireworks. A dog’s hearing is so strong, the difference between having your curtains drawn and your window shut is huge. Also, it’s probably going to be way too cold to do that anyway, which will help your energy bills too.
This will make sure the sounds aren’t too shocking to the puppers so they won’t get quite as scared as if you left them open. That would be like putting the fireworks on full volume.
Following on from the idea of minimising the noise of the fireworks is the recommendation that you whack up the TV or music to drown out the sounds of the frivolities far and near.
So if you’ve not already binged it in a weekend, stick Stranger Things on and snuggle up with your cuddly companion.
If your dog won’t settle even after all the measures you’ve put in place, you may need to give them room to move around and find a space where they feel safe and in control. It’s best to make a few of these spaces around the house so your pet can feel comfortable in their own environment.
Help your poor pupper feel at home by making some cosy spaces with pillows and cushions or even a crate with a blanket over it.
If you want your dog to stay calm throughout all the turmoil, it might be worth thinking about giving the dog a carb-filled meal which will calm them down. The carbs will put them in a kind of stupor – if you’ve ever eaten so much pasta you feel like you’re going into a coma you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Stimulating them throughout the day will also tire them out, and continuing to stimulate them during the evening with play will distract them from what’s going on outside. If they’re not in the mood to play, just make sure you give them a good old cuddle.
Obviously all of these things are instructions, and not to be taken as gospel. Each doggo is different and will react differently to the fireworks on Bonfire Night, so just make sure you’re paying attention to their behaviour and make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.