How to Keep Dogs Calm on Bonfire Night
While some people may merrily chant Remember, Remember the 5th of November, we know that many pet owners would prefer it if Bonfire Night (and fireworks in general) were forgotten about altogether.
According to research by the RSPCA, a whopping 45% of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks. In fact, fireworks are believed to be the most common cause of fear response in our canine companions due to the bright lights and loud noises. With Bonfire Night fast approaching, we’ve put together some top tips for managing dogs and fireworks.
Keep reading for our advice on how to keep dogs calm and safe to ensure a stress-free Bonfire Night, including:
How to prepare your dog for Bonfire night and
How to calm your dog during fireworks
How to prepare your dog for Bonfire Night
To help make your pup feel relaxed on Bonfire Night, it’s a good idea to plan ahead of the night’s events. Try not to wait until the fireworks start to whizz, crackle and bang, as there are several ways to prepare your pooch and home before the fireworks start to go off.
1. Prepare a safe, quiet area
Before Bonfire Night, set up a cosy, quiet area where your pooch can go to feel safe. Choose the quietest area in the house and make it comfy with a blanket for them to snuggle or their dog bed to lounge on. If your dog sleeps in a crate, then you can drape a blanket over the top to transform it into a safe haven. Remember to keep the door open so your pup can come and go as they please.
Train your dog to associate the area with positive experiences by putting their favourite dog toys and treats there – interactive toys like Yappy’s toothy treat toy will help to keep your dog entertained while a few plush toys will provide your pooch comfort and something to chew on.
In time, your pup will learn that this space is where they can go to feel safe – so it’s important to always make it accessible, especially during firework season.
2. Go for a walk before it gets dark
If possible, take your dog for a long walk before it starts to get dark so they’re nice and tired by the evening. If you’re unable to squeeze in a long walk before it gets dark, then a big play session with your pup using fun interactive toys will also help to tire them out.
3. Try to get your dog used to the sound of fireworks
Before Bonfire Night, try playing a soundtrack of fireworks at a low volume so your dog can become familiar with the sounds – there are lots of resources you can access online for free, like this fireworks video. Play the sounds and gradually increase the volume, this will help to desensitise them to noisy fireworks and they won’t be as much of a shock to them.
When trying this technique, it’s important not to overreact too much to what your pup does – comfort them but try not to go overboard. If your dog does show signs of distress, then stop the training and have a break, you can always try again later or another day.
4. Make sure that your dog is wearing an ID collar
While we’d recommend that your dog stays inside during Bonfire Night, it’s important that your dog is wearing their ID collar and that their microchip details are up to date. This will be useful just in case your dog gets frightened and runs off.
5. Consider offering your dog a calming supplement
As Bonfire Night is one of the most stressful times for dogs, it may be worth considering the help of calming supplements to make your pup feel more at ease.
Yappy’s calming soft bites can be eaten like a treat and are a great way to promote calmness, composure, and even make your dog drift off to sleep more easily – perfect for dogs who are more inclined to be spooked by loud noises.
If you’re unsure about calming products, then it’s always worth asking your vet for further advice.
How to calm your dog during fireworks
1. Keep your dog inside
This might be an obvious one, but if your dog is anxious about fireworks then it’s best to keep them inside on Bonfire Night (apart from when they need a toilet break). Instead, have a cosy night inside, snuggle up under a blanket and pop a film on. You can also play some interactive games to keep your dog entertained too!
2. Close all the doors and shut the curtains
This will help to block out the noise and lights of the fireworks going off. Plus, if your dog gets spooked – at least you know they won’t bolt out the door. If you do need to answer the door, then make sure your pup is safe in another room first.
3. Have some background music on
Turning your TV or radio up slightly higher than usual will help to drown out the noise of the fireworks going off. Consider playing classical music to your dog too as this has been known to make our canine companions feel less anxious.
4. Feed your dog slightly earlier than usual
If your dog is feeling anxious while the fireworks are going off they may be put off eating their food, so it’s a good idea to get them fed a bit earlier. Plus, a small number of carbohydrates in their meal will help to settle your pup’s stomach.
5. Be calm around your dog
Our dogs are very good at picking up on our moods! If you start to act strangely around your dog on Bonfire Night, then they’re more likely to act in a similar way and become more anxious. Instead, just act normally and let your dog do their thing in the comfort of your home.
We hope you have a sparkling (and safe) Bonfire Night
We hope that these tips help you feel more confident knowing how to keep dogs calm on Bonfire Night. If you’re part of a multi-pet household, then make sure to check out our blog post on how to calm your cat on Bonfire Night too.
Always try to remain cool and calm around your pup to make them feel comfortable. And, as always, if you’re ever concerned about your dog’s health then please contact your vet for advice.