Bonfire Night: How to keep your dog safe during fireworks - Dogs Trust Leeds issues advice for owners

With Bonfire Night approaching, Dogs Trust Leeds has provided some tips on how to protect your dog during the fireworks.

A fireworks display on a residential street. (Pic credit: James Hardisty)

According to Amanda Sands, manager of Leeds Rehoming Centre, dogs have roughly four times more sensitive hearing than humans do, as a result, the loud bangs of fireworks can often terrify and confuse them.

Dogs Trust Leeds have compiled a list of helpful tips for dog owners to make sure their pet gets through the night safely.

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1. Walk your dog before it gets dark

Make sure your dog gets their exercise and has a toilet break well before the fireworks start.

2. Feed your dog before fireworks

It’s important that your dog is fed well before the fireworks start, as they may become too unsettled to eat during the fireworks.

3. Keep your house and garden secure

Make sure your garden and house are secure during the fireworks to prevent your dog from trying to run away if they’re scared and get lost.

4. Provide a safe hiding place

Ensure your dog has somewhere safe in the house or their favourite room to run to. For example, a comfy bed or under a table with blankets to make it cosy and help to soundproof the space. Make sure the curtains are closed, turn the lights on and turn up the volume of your TV or radio to help mask the sound of the fireworks.

5. Keep your dog busy during the fireworks

If your dog is occupied with something indoors, it can help them take their mind off the noise of the fireworks; play games or practise some reward-based training.

6. Comfort and reassure your dog

If you are calm, your dog will feel calm. Avoid telling your dog off during the fireworks as this might make them more worried.

7. Leave them be

If your dog wants to hide, don’t force them to come out of their hiding place, allow them to stay where they feel safe.

Here are some tips if you are planning on setting off fireworks at home:

1. Let your neighbours know well in advance so that they can prepare their dogs

2. Limit your display to 30 minutes or less

3. Opt for a quieter, lower decibel fireworks display

Ms Sands said: “There are lots of things owners can do to help make fireworks less stressful for their dogs. Simple steps such as providing safe spaces for them to hide or settling them before the fireworks can make a big difference.

“We would also urge anyone thinking of putting on their own fireworks display to consider the welfare of their four-legged friends and others in the neighbourhood by following our Firework Dog Code.”

For further advice about how to prevent and deal with fear of loud noises such as fireworks, please visit the Dogs Trust Leeds website.