Bonfire night

our top tips for keeping your dog calm

With Halloween & Bonfire Night festivities fast approaching, it's important for us to consider the impact this will have on our pets. Fireworks can be quite terrifying for our beloved canine companions, and for many owners the firework season seems to drag on - but don't worry, we're here to help!

Check out our top tips below, to help keep your pets calm and reassured this bonfire night:

  • Never walk your dog while fireworks are being let off - if you're unsure about whether there is likely to be fireworks, err on the side of caution and make sure your dog has plenty of exercise earlier in the day.
  • Plan ahead and make sure your dog is fed before any expected disturbances, as they may become too nervous to eat. Feeding a natural diet free from anything artificial can help to reduce any hyperactive behaviour.
  • Make sure to let your dog out for a comfort break at dusk, before any expected disturbances as it may be a while before it's safe to let them outside again.
  • Always keep your dog indoors during fireworks, and close all curtains & windows to block out any scary flashes of light and help drown out the noise. Don't forget to block off any cat flaps to stop your dog (or feline friends) escaping!
  • Turn on on the radio, TV or play music to help drown out the noise of fireworks.
  • Try making a den with old blankets for your dog to hide away in - you can encourage it's use by hiding treats and toys there, and once they're inside - don't try to coax them out. Wherever your dog settles (even if it is under furniture or a pile of old washing), let them be as it's important for them to feel comfortable.
  • Try to act and behave as normal, as your dog will pick up on any anxious behaviour. Remain calm, happy and cheerful as this will send positive signals to your dog. Reward calm behaviour with dog treats or playing with toys of interest.
  • Herbal remedies like Skullcap & Valerian or easily available Pet Remedy sprays/wipes can help to calm your dog during distress.
  • Make sure your dog is shut safely inside a room if you need to open any external doors to avoid them escaping in fear.

For dogs who are particularly prone to stress you may want to consider:

  • Use a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) like Adaptil which releases a synthetic pheromone which replicated that produced by the mother after she has given birth. The pheromone reassured newborn puppies and actually calms them down and scientists have discovered that it also helps calm older dogs for a wide range of anxiety related behaviour.
  • You can use a CD to desensitise your dog to typical firework noises. This usually takes a few weeks to see a marked improvement, and is best carried out well in advance for optimum results
  • If your dog is particularly prone to becoming very distressed, have a chat with your vet or dog behaviourist for expert advice