Bonfire night, Guy Fawkes night or whatever you call it in your own household is right around the corner, and at this time of year Halloween and Guy Fawkes night more or less blur into one for many of us.
Fireworks tend to be let off for around a week either side of Bonfire night itself, which can make this a testing time of year for dogs and dog owners. However, many of us do of course enjoy the season too and want to take part in the spirit of things and some of the various events that occur at this time of year, which is all a lot easier if you don’t have to worry too much about how your dog is coping.
Whether your dog is totally chilled out and not bothered about Guy Fawkes night or if they find it very stressful and behave somewhat unpredictably, there are several things that we as dog owners can do to ensure that our dogs are kept safe; and so, to reduce our own stress levels too! With this in mind, this article will share some tips and advice on keeping your dog safe on and around Guy Fawkes night or bonfire night.
Read on to learn more.
First of all, fireworks are of course much more likely to be going off when the sky gets dark enough for people to actually see and appreciate them properly, an so your dog is much less likely to be exposed to bangs and flashes that might scare or upset them and cause them to panic if you walk them before it gets dark.
Dogs can find the whole of Guy Fawkes night alarming and unsettling, and they don’t calm down fully in the gaps between firework bangs and flashes. Being scared can send dogs into fight or fight mode, both of which can be dangerous. Fight mode is obviously a danger, but in “flight” mode, your dog might run off in a panic, so take great care any time you open doors to outside to ensure that your dog doesn’t make a break for it.
If you normally let your dog out into the garden to do their business on their own, go along with them after it gets dark, as the added stimulus in the air and the potential for bangs and flashes can scare your dog and once more, cause them to potentially activate “flight” mode and attempt to run off.
Keep your dog on a lead even when in the garden too if you have any concerns.
If you walk your dog in public parks or other areas where there might have been fireworks displays and bonfires on Guy Fawkes night itself (or in roads surrounding them) opportunistic dogs might well find rich pickings of dropped food, like marshmallows and toffee apples and other seasonal goodies!
Keep an eye out for this the day after Guy Fawkes night if your dog is a scavenger!
Rarely do fireworks displays and individuals letting off fireworks restrict their activities to just Guy Fawkes night itself, and often, both organised displays and casual parties will hold bonfires and let off fireworks at other times either side of Guy Fawkes night too.
Pre-empt this as far as possible by also assuming fireworks will go off at other times, and find out what days local displays are planned for – and assume that the weekend closest to Guy Fawkes night will be more or less as noisy as the night itself.
If there’s a bonfire planned in your local park or other areas you walk your dog in, keep your dog away from this both before and after the event. Before the bonfire is lit it might be unstable, and if your dog tries to scavenge a stick from it or even climb it, might dislodge the whole thing. It might also contain dangers like nails and other sharp objects.
The same holds true the day after, when the bonfire has burnt down – and also, hot coals may remain within the fire under a layer of apparently cool ash, which could burn your dog’s paw.
Your dog looks to you as their owner for direction and reassurance when they are scared or uncertain, and if you can keep your dog calm and ensure they don’t panic, they will be easier to keep safe.
Continue to behave as normal and don’t make a huge fuss when bangs and flashes go off, and your dog will follow suit to a great extent.
Also, remember that a dog that is scared might be defensive, and so don’t try to pull them out from a hiding place, smother them with a hug or get into their personal space. All of these things both feed into your dog’s fear, and might result in them snapping too, even if they are normally impeccably well behaved.