DIY Dog Dens

Building a Safe Den for your Dog for Bonfire Night

Building a Safe Den for your Dog for Bonfire NightBonfire night can be a magical time for children and adults alike but not necessarily for our dogs. The sound of fireworks booming away can be a frightening ordeal for your pet but there are steps you can take to make him feel safe. As a London Dog Walker, I’m often asked how I think you should prepare for bonfire night, and how to build a den, so read on to find out how best to take care of your pet this November.

A good idea is to set aside an area in the house so that he knows he has a place to get away from the noise, his own little den. Preparing your dog for Bonfire Night should begin several weeks in advance. There are all sorts of things you can buy, from desensitising CDs to plug in diffusers which contain comforting pheromones. If absolutely necessary you can ask your vet for advice on sedation for a dog which is excessively frightened. But one of the best things you can do for him is to build him a safe haven.

This place should preferably be as far from the noise source as possible, away from doors and windows. Place it near to the middle of the house and in a spot where you can keep an eye on him. You could place a radio or CD player close by and play some soft music on the night.

You don’t have to buy a crate
There are plenty of purpose-made dog crates on the market but if you don’t want to run to the expense of buying one then you could build a makeshift one using a table, chairs and a large blanket, just like when you were a child making a tent in the garden!

Put his favourite bedding in the den along with some extra blankets for him to snuggle into; some dogs will try to make a nest to hide in when frightened. If you are using a crate, place a dark coloured blanket over the top of it so that he can feel extra secure. Make sure to leave the door of the crate open so that he doesn’t feel trapped.
Acclimatisation

To get him used to using it before the day, start encouraging him to go in it by putting treats or biscuits in there and perhaps his favourite toy. You could use a Kong stuffed with his favourite treats; this will hopefully distract him long enough to get the idea that this is a good place for him to stay. If Fido is not used to a crate or confined space it may take a few attempts before he realises that it’s nothing to worry about. Be patient!

Once you’ve settled him into his den on the night just remember to act normally, stay calm and keep the door to the outside firmly closed.