Scared Labrador puppy covering its ears


With Bonfire Night just around the corner, fireworks season is fast approaching and it can be a frightening time for your dog. We’ve put together some useful practical tips to help keep your pooch as calm and happy as possible during the festivities.

Planning Ahead

It might sound strange, but desensitising your dog to noise in the weeks leading up to fireworks night can really help. Try playing low volume background fireworks noises at home so that they can be familiarised to the sounds without being overwhelmed. As the weeks go by, increase the volume very gradually and be on hand to reassure them in case they do panic.

Create a Safe Space

Don't wait until the start of the fireworks season to set up a safe haven for your dog. Create somewhere cosy they can get used to ahead of time – this can be as simple as a blanket draped over a table or cage.

During the fireworks themselves make sure you draw the curtains and close windows and doors. Your pooch might also be most comfortable in their own bed so give them the freedom to choose. Let them roam around the house if they want to.

Relax to Music

Calming, soothing music at a low volume in the background can really help to mask loud noises and keep the atmosphere relaxed at home. There are also specially designed "dog relaxation" playlists available for use during fireworks and storms – a quick online search will give you plenty of options!

Adjust Your Walking Routine

Dogs should be kept indoors during fireworks so it’s a good idea to go for your daily dog walk earlier on when you know fireworks are less likely to go off. Ideally you should try to introduce changes over a few days so you aren’t suddenly disrupting the normal routine – this in itself can be unsettling for your dog.

Practise Positivity

Using rewards can be a good way to reinforce the behaviour you want and keep things warm and positive. If you are calm and relaxed this will also reassure them that there is no danger and will help to reduce their anxiety.

Use Calming Techniques

Massaging, petting, or brushing your dog can be a relaxing experience. If you can, make these activities part of your routine before fireworks season so that your pooch is familiar with them and knows what to expect. These can also be great for strengthening your bond and helping them to associate you with positive experiences.

Calming supplements, sprays or diffusers can also help to reduce stress levels and help your pet stay relaxed during fireworks season. However, make sure you research these thoroughly and consult your vet if you are not sure on suitability for your dog.  

Keep Them Busy

Interactive toys like treat-dispensing puzzles or a simple game of tug of war can help keep your pup so busy that they forget all about the loud noises outside. Playing some games or letting them get their teeth into a big chew can be a great stress reliever too and help to burn off some nervous energy.

Make Time for Cuddles

Don’t crowd your dog if they are stressed and anxious but be available for cuddles if they want them of course. Dogs are affectionate creatures and some good snuggling up together is an important part of bonding and letting them know you care.

Just like people, dogs are all individuals. You will know your dog best of all - pay close attention to his cues and adjust your approach if you need to. If your dog shows an extreme fear of fireworks, speak with a professional dog trainer or a vet. They might advise an alternative approach or medication that could help.


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October 25, 2023
Tags: Dogs