While many of your readers will be looking forward to enjoying the festivities of Bonfire night, I wanted to remind dog owners that this time of year can be very frightening for our four-legged friends.

Many animals can find the loud sounds and brightness of fireworks very distressing so it’s important that owners take steps to help ensure their pets feel as safe and relaxed as possible during this time.

One of the best ways to keep dogs calm on Bonfire Night is to build them a doggy den. T

his provides them with their own space in a quiet place of the house that they can retreat to with their favourite blankets and toys. While they should be able to move in and out of the den freely, it needs to be somewhere relatively cosy and compact so that they feel safe and secure.

Another good technique is to distract pets from the commotion outside by keeping them entertained.

Try playing with them and stocking up on a couple of new toys that you can give to them on the night itself to focus their attention elsewhere and hopefully encourage a positive association with the relevant scary noises. Similarly, consider turning the radio or television up slightly louder than usual to mask the noise of the celebrations and create a more relaxing environment.

Ensure windows and doors are kept closed as some animals’ reaction to stressful situations is to run away.

Taking your dog on a long walk during the daytime ensures you won’t be outside when celebrations begin, and also results in them feeling tired, making them more likely to sleep through the noisy festivities.

Some readers may have plans to go to firework displays to celebrate, but it’s important not to leave frightened pets at home alone during Bonfire Night.

Owners should behave normally around their pets to avoid them sensing anything unusual and should remain with them to provide comfort if they begin to show signs of stress.

Enjoy the celebrations with your friends and family but above all else remember to keep an eye on your furry friends and if they are distressed to the point of concern, give your vets a call so they can advise on next steps.

Yours sincerely,

John Burns, founder of Burns Pet Nutrition and Veterinary Surgeon