Top 5 tips to help your dog beat the bonfire night blues

As families across the region get ready for a sparkling evening of fireworks, one Nottinghamshire dog rescue centre has got a few words of wisdom for dog owners this bonfire night.

Jerry Green dog rescue centre feature.
Volunteer, Gill Skinner, with Oscar, the Westie that she has adopted.
Jerry Green dog rescue centre feature. Volunteer, Gill Skinner, with Oscar, the Westie that she has adopted.

Whilst people are easting toffee apples and waving sparklers around tonight, the team at the Jerry Green Dog Rescue Centre in Blidworth will be taking care of rescue dogs on what they call a ‘notoriously noisy night’.

Jenny Harris, fundraiser at the centre, said: “Unfortunately dogs, cats and other pets can find the loud noises and flashing lights that accompany bonfire and firework displays very frightening.

“But if you prepare early, then there is no reason why you and your pet can’t enjoy the night.”

Here are their top tips:

1. Avoid walking your dog after dark in the days leading up to and following the 5th November.

2. Close curtains and turn on televisions, radios and lights around the house to help mask the sound and flashes of light from fireworks.

3. If possible, stay at home with your dog, so you can reassure them if necessary.

4. Set up a safe area (also known as a safe haven) so your dog has somewhere to go when they feel worried. A safe haven is usually a comfortable bed or covered crate where the dog receives lots of pleasant surprises, such as their favourite toys, treats and chews.

5. Although it seems counter-intuitive, try not to give your dog too much attention when they are frightened as this can accidentally encourage the behaviour rather than reassure them.

The Jerry Green team also wanted to remind people that there are products available for dogs who suffer with noise fears and phobias, such as collars, diffuser sprats and anxiety wraps.

You can also get sound CDs to help desenstise them to their fears - though it is advisable to get a qualified behaviourist involved to help with the initial stages of training.

Additional advice can be sought from your veterinary practice or by contacting your local Jerry Green Dog Rescue centre.

To find your nearest centre, click here.