Bonfire Night: Dog expert's tips to keep your pets safe and calm during fireworks

  • Watch: Dog expert Rosie Bescoby shares her tips for how to keep animals safe and happy on Bonfire Night

At this time of year, many people celebrate Bonfire Night by watching fireworks and lighting bonfires.

The annual event, celebrated on November 5, remembers Guy Fawkes and the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

While it's important to have fun, for many pet owners it is a dreaded date.

Animal charity The Kennel Club says around 80% of all pet owners notice a change in their pet's behaviour around Bonfire Night.

It also says nearly half of owners report their dogs are scared by fireworks.

But there's lots you can do to keep your four-legged friends safe and happy according to an expert.

Around fifty percent of owners say their dogs are scared of fireworks. Credit: RSPCA / PA

Rosie Bescoby is a clinical animal behaviourist based in Bristol who often works with dogs that have a phobia of fireworks.

She told ITV West Country that playing drum and bass music at home is one of the best things you can do to keep your dogs calm during the fireworks season.

"You basically want to choose music or noise that masks the sound of the fireworks going off outside - so you're doing your best to kind of drown it out and match the kind of pitch of the noises going on," she said.

"When you know you're expecting fireworks, you can have the music playing before it even gets dark and just have a party in your house if you need to," she added.

Another of Ms Bescoby's tips is to find ways to distract your dog.

"I would be getting the freezer stocked up with lots of items for your dog to lick at," she said. "Like a doggy ice cream that's going to take them half an hour to get through."

She also recommended not taking dogs out for a walk after dark, and making sure there's always someone in the house with them.

Ms Bescoby said: "Make sure you don't take dogs out for a walk after it gets dark — the last thing we want is for a dog to be exposed to a firework going off overhead as then there's a risk of bolting.

"I'd also really strongly recommend owners don't leave their pets at home alone on fireworks night because if they get frightened by their local fireworks display, you then have a dog that's also got separation anxiety as they start to feel being left home alone is scary," she added.

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