Expert explains how to help dogs cope with fireworks

A dog behaviour expert has shared how owners can prepare their pet for Bonfire Night fireworks.

Rosie Bescoby, 37, suggests playing firework recordings to them when they are in a relaxed state in the weeks leading up to fireworks events.

She said owners should gradually increase the volume over time so the animals are not so shocked by the noises on the night.

Owners can also build a den for their dog, which Rosie suggests they make in the place they sleep or where they would normally go to hide.

Over the months leading up to Bonfire Night she suggests owners randomly play music such as drum and bass or African drumming.

On the night of 5 November, she warns that owners should never take their dogs outside to a firework display and should always walk them before dark.

Rosie, a clinical animal behaviourist, from Bristol, said: “I think I’ve only met one dog in my time that genuinely seemed to like fireworks.

“For others the anxiety of the noises build up over time. They have a different hearing range to us and hear extreme noises. We can try and prepare them by playing the firework bangs to them in the lead up.

“It’s important to make sure you do this when they are relaxed and settled but not asleep. Over the month you should then gradually increase the volume. It means on the night the dog doesn’t even realise the noise of the fireworks as they have become de-sensitised.”

On setting up a comfortable den for their pets to hide in, she added: “Owners should make it in their bed or where they run and hide too normally. You should make it comfy with chews and water.

“It will then feel like a safe space for them rather than somewhere associated with feeling bad.”

Some owners like to use body wraps to help with their dog’s anxiety but Rosie warns that these should be tried in advance to check they are not causing distress.

Rosie reminded owners to walk their dogs before it gets dark and the fireworks start.

“I’d rather they miss a walk that day if it’s not possible to walk them before it gets dark,” she said. “Make sure you have the den set up on the night.

“If your dog is in fear you can give them reassurance but don’t overdo it. If they are not coming to you asking for reassurance then you should leave them alone.”

She added: “Never leave them alone by themselves in the house or take them to a display. Make sure their microchip details are up to date in case they bolt.

“You can start preparing your dog for Bonfire Night as early as February to help desensitise them.”