Five Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks

Many animals find fireworks scary, and as Bonfire Night approaches you may feel worried about how your dog will react. The RSPCA estimates that 45 percent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear or smell fireworks, or see the flashes of light.

However, there are things you can do to minimise your dog’s stress levels. Our Animal Management team has shared their tips below on how to keep your dog calm during fireworks.

Walk them during daylight hours

As the noise curfew is extended to midnight on Bonfire Night, taking your dog for a nice long walk during the day can prove to be useful. You can also take your dog out for a final toilet walk once the fireworks have ended. If your dog is particularly scared of fireworks, you may want to feed them earlier too in case they are too distracted to eat later on.

Mask the firework sounds and lights

Close all windows and draw your curtains closed to reduce the noise and light that travels through to inside your home. Leave your TV on, or music playing to mask some of the noise. Classical music has been shown to help to calm dogs in general, ‘Through A Dog’s Ear’ has been recommended by experts as having calming effects for dogs.

Create a quiet space

If your dog is used to being in a crate, cover it and leave it open throughout fireworks. Locking the crate can cause more stress for them. Giving your dog options of where they can hide can also prove to be beneficial for example, a table with a blanket draped over it could be the perfect safe haven. Ideally, this will be away from windows to avoid flashing lights and loud bangs and will be filled with their favourite toys and a few treats. You could add in a few of your clothes to add a comforting scent.

Give your dog extra cuddles!

If you can, stay home with your dog as you will be the biggest form of comfort. Alternatively, leave your dog with someone that they are familiar and comfortable with. Remain calm and have patience. Using a soothing tone will reassure your dog that they are safe and will help to keep them calm. Yelling at or scolding your dog for its anxious behaviour will only create confusion for them.

Distract your dog

Giving your dog something to do will help them to ignore the fireworks. You can play a game, such as tug of war or fetch, with your dog inside. You might also give try a toy filled with peanut butter or a treat-dispensing puzzle toy. Dogs that a particularly scared may not be interested in eating but for others it may work.

If your dog becomes extremely distressed, speak to your vet about alternative therapies or prescribed treatments.