Bonfire Night 2022: 6 ways to keep your dog calm during fireworks and Halloween - including when to walk them

As bonfire night is just around the corner, here’s some top tips to keep your dog calm during the celebration.

October and November are a great time for autumn celebrations, with Halloween and Fireworks Night just around the corner. But while we humans gather around to watch the skies light up, our furry friends are often left terrified by the unexpected loud bangs and noises that the events bring.

Dogs have well-developed senses which mean that they experience sound and light on a completely different level from their owners. This can leave them anxious and disoriented during our firework night and Halloween antics.

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Dogs that are anxious or stressed will show body language indicators such as panting, shaking, hiding and having their ears being flat at the back of their head. Classic FM will be bringing back its popular Pets Classics show over Bonfire Night to help keep pets calm but that’s not all you can do to reduce your pet’s fear.

Lorna Winter, co-founder and head of training at Zigzag, has shared her top tips on how you can help reduce your puppies’ firework fear. The tips include creating a safe space for your pet and distracting through play.

Tips to help your scared dogs on bonfire night

Six ways to keep your dog calm on Firework Night and Halloween

1. Do not ignore your scared puppy

As with most things, ignoring it won’t mean it goes away. Do not ignore your puppy or their anxiety.

When dealing with a dog that’s scared of fireworks, it’s important not to assume the behaviour will go away on its own. Our pups rely on us for support, so if you have an anxious pup it is vital to not leave them alone as this fear can, unfortunately, turn into a phobia if not supported.

2. Walk your dog during daylight hours

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Avoid walking your pup during times when fireworks are likely to be let off to help reduce their anxiety. Exercising your dog during the day will also mean they will be more tired in the evening so they will be more likely to relax and remain less anxious.

3. Muffle out the sound

While we won’t be able to drown out the sounds of fireworks entirely; muffling to block the noise outside will help your puppy to relax. Playing ambient or classical music will help to distract your puppy with pleasant sounds, reminding them they are safe! You can also use a white noise machine or turn up your television volume - this allows the puppy to have a more constant level of noise.

Fireworks
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4. Create a safe space for your pup

Your anxious puppy may run and hide in a smaller corner in order to feel secluded and safe from the outside world. By making a safe space for your puppy you can easily keep an eye on their whereabouts and behaviour.

5. Distract and play!

For your puppy to feel safe they need to know that their owner is unbothered by the sounds too and therefore do not need to feel threatened. See if your puppy will play with you like normal by offering interactive feeders and chew toys.

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6.  Use anxiety wraps

Anxiety wraps create a slight pressure on the puppy’s torso creating a calming effect, similar to when we hug one another. It’s an easy way to make sure your puppy feels safe and secure this Fireworks Night.