Keeping Your Horse and Dog Calm During Bonfire Season
For all horse and dog owners bonfire season can be a traumatic time which tests both animals and humans.
One of the key steps to take in the run up to and around Guy Fawkes Night is to be prepared and take action before fireworks and bonfires start to be lit.
For horse owners there are many aspects to consider:
Should I leave my horse in the field or keep him stabled?
All horses and ponies react differently to loud bangs and noises so there is no hard and fast rule on this.
Most animals are calmer and happier if they know where noise is coming from so if you don’t have stables and have to keep your horses and ponies out they should be fine but keep checking them.
They will also be calmer and happier if they are in a field or near other horses as they are herd animals and will give each other confidence.
If your decision is to have your horse or pony stabled, having the radio on or music playing to deaden the noise of fireworks can help.
Similarly if your stables are in an internal building but the stable has a window at the back looking outside, open it so they can see what is going on - they will be more relaxed and content.
Should I feed a calming supplement?
For horses and ponies that are very anxious when it comes to excessive noise, feeding a calming supplement may be an option.
If your horse is hyper-sensitive it may be that they are on a supplement already that can be increased or for those owners just wanting to make sure their animals receive some extra support a calmer may help.
A word of caution though - don’t leave it until the day before to start adding the calmer to their feed.
Supplements can take up to three weeks to really get into the system and work to their full effect.
Similar to horses and ponies, your canine friend can become very anxious and nervous when it comes to unusually loud noise and bangs.
What can I do to help my dog’s anxiety?
Many dogs are noise sensitive and need support from their owners and the people they trust and turn to during stressful periods.
It is important that throughout bonfire ‘week’ you are there to provide comfort and security for them as many can shows signs of worry and anxious behaviour.
Your dog will probably want to be nearer to you than under normal circumstances and canine behaviourists encourage this.
It is a good idea to have the television or a radio playing as like with horses, this will help drowned the noise of the fireworks out.
You can also build a den for your dog with their favour blankets, toys and treats so they can hide away and feel safe if they want to.
Can I give my dog anything to keep them relaxed?
Similar to support provided for horses and ponies, there are many supplements on the market that can help to keep your dog calm and relaxed when under extra pressure from noise disturbances.
If using a supplement please read the instructions carefully and gain veterinary advice where required.