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Events such as Halloween and Bonfire Night may be entertaining for us humans, but it can cause a bout of anxiety in our furry friends. Especially when there are fireworks involved.
According to research by the RSPCA, 45% of dogs fear fireworks. As November 5th rapidly approaches, it's important to be prepared for firework night.
In this article, we'll guide you on keeping your dog calm during fireworks, making it a less stressful experience for them.
The loud and unexpected noises fireworks create can be very distressing for dogs. Mid-October to November is firework season. This means local firework displays will be taking place, and neighbours may even host private firework displays in the garden.
If you are wondering what signs to look out for that show your dog is scared of the bangs, we have got you covered:
Cowering or hiding
Pacing and panting
Urination and soiling
Refusing to eat
If you think your dog is afraid of fireworks, make sure to check with your council when your local firework display is. Also, ask your neighbours to inform you if they're having fireworks in their garden, then you can prepare to soothe your anxious dog.
So, how can you prepare to calm your dog during these noisy nights?
Bonfire Night celebrations will usually start when the sun has gone down. With that in mind, it’s best to walk your dog before it gets dark – which will be around 4:30pm in November. If you take your furry friend for a walk before then, it will mean they still get their exercise and maintain routine which will help calm them. If your dog gets a lot of exercise during the daytime, this will also tire them out ready for the evening.
Naturally, it's best to keep your nervous pet indoors with closed windows and curtains when firework night starts!
When your pup is anxious, they’ll likely not want to eat their dinner. Therefore, when you know there’s going to be fireworks, it’s best to give them their meal before it gets dark.
It’s also a good idea to take them outside to go potty in advance. They will be too terrified to venture outside during the bangs and flashes. This way, they won't have to hold everything in during an already stressful time!
Providing your dog with a den or quiet space to hide during firework night is a great way to help them feel safe. Dr Judy Morgan says, “you should get your pet used to a calming environment beforehand. Dogs are den animals – they’re looking for that cave to get away from it all.”
Luckily, at WOOOF, we have the perfect haven. The Grey Pet Cave is a cosy hideaway, shaped like a cone with an oval opening where your pooch can peek out. It includes an extra comfortable cushion within, making the den welcoming and comfortable for your pup.
To keep your dog calm, you can put their favourite toys and treats in their hiding spot for added comfort. Which brings us to our next point…
Giving your dog something to do that keeps their brain stimulated will help them to ignore the fireworks. Try providing them with a Lick Mat filled with Poochbutter, or a Treat-Dispensing Dog Toy that will keep them entertained!
Not all scared dogs will be interested in eating, but for some it may work. Another idea is to just give your dog something to gnaw on as chewing can help reduce their anxiety. Alternatively, entertain your dog while they are cooped up inside by playing games like tug of war or fetch.
Check out some of our best dog enrichment toys to keep your pup amused on firework night below.
Calming supplements are great to soothe your dog during stressful events like firework night. Calming supplements can come in the form of dog treats or calming sprays. For example, Forthglade’s Natural Soft Bites with Calming Camomile, Lavender and Lemon is perfect to help your dog relax. We also suggest using Calming Supplement Chews to reduce your dog's stress and anxiety levels.
However, if your dog is not one to eat or chew when they are feeling anxious, a dog calming spray may be more useful. Dog Calming Sprays provide comprehensive anxiety relief, a solution without sedation to calm your pooch. These safe formulas can be used to ease your dog's stress from fireworks, loud noises, travel, vet visits, and being left alone.
During the noisy bangs of firework night, you could put your TV or Radio on louder than usual. This will help to mask the sounds of the fireworks and hopefully keep your pup calmer.
There are also radio stations such as Classic FM’s Pet Classics that play calming music to help your pet feel comfortable during firework night. Classical music, in particular, has a calming effect on our furry friends.
Staying home with your dog will be the biggest form of comfort for them during firework night. If you can't be there, ensure that someone your dog knows well and feels comfortable with looks after them.
Avoid getting mad at your poor pooch for barking or howling at loud noises, as it can make their anxiety worse. Instead, try giving your dog lots of comfort and remain calm. If your fur baby is one to hideaway and not want cuddles, simply sitting nearby will also help them to feel safe and comforted.
We hope this article has helped you with some ways to keep your beloved dog calm during the upcoming firework season.
If your dog seems scared of fireworks and loud noises, we recommend speaking with your vet. They can provide advice on additional treatments and may refer you to a dog behaviourist.