How to Keep Your Dog Calm This Bonfire Night! (2018)

Bonfire Night is right around the corner. While many people are excited by the fireworks, the bonfires, the food, drink and sparklers, others are worrying about their furry little friends and how it will affect them.

While some may really enjoy Bonfire Night, our dogs’ absolutely hate it, the loud bangs and the hissing and screeching of the fireworks severely distress our dogs.
There’s only so much you can do for your pooch. The best thing you could do would be to fly out to another country where they don’t celebrate bonfire night, but that’s not exactly practical nor convenient – so the next best thing you can do is prepare your house to make it as less of a hassle for everyone as possible.
Roughly 45% of dogs’ in the UK shows signs of anxiety towards fireworks (source: RSPCA). Symptoms for this include whining, scratching, barking, biting and more. By planning ahead and doing the most that you can, you can ensure that everyone has a good Bonfire Night (including you!)
If you follow our guide you will able to enjoy bonfire night to its fullest alongside your little friend!

Preparation 

  • Sound therapy is the best way to prepare your dog for the loud bangs and whizzes, this will need to be done up to 3 months before hand, however. Whilst you can’t get them ready for this years Bonfire Night, it’s worth preparing them for next year so at least they’ll be ready by next November!
  • You can find out information about local firework displays on community Facebook pages and websites, knowing the time and location of the display can prevent shocks to both you and your dog as well as giving you more time to plan ahead.
  • Be sure to close any windows, curtains and doors that may be open before the fireworks begin. Doing so blocks the flashes of the fireworks and dampens the sound of the bangs slightly. If you have a dog/cat flap in your house, make sure to seal that as well to ensure your pet stays indoors.
  • Make sure that they have plenty of water to drink as anxious dogs are more prone to panting, which makes them thirsty!
  • Create a den or an attractive retreat for your dog should the noise get too much. Fill it with some of their favourite toys, maybe some treats and a piece of unwashed clothing (so they can smell you) as this will help them feel a bit safer.
  • Feed and walk your dog before the fireworks. Walking your dog long before the fireworks will allow you to have a peaceful walk without distractions and gives you enough time to get your dog back indoors before they commence. Your dog might also be too anxious to eat during the fireworks (no matter how much they love food) so it’s best to feed them beforehand.
  • If you’re still worried about your pet prior to the fireworks, speak to your vet as they may be able to prescribe medicine depending on how severe the anxiety is.

During the fireworks

  • Dogs’ follow body language where possible, so if you act like normal and just enjoy yourself, your dog is more likely to pick up on that and not act oddly.
  • If your dog goes to their den/bed, leave them be. Bribing them out with a treat will do them no good as they are having to face their fears just to earn some food, which won’t do them any good in the long run. Having their tail between their legs, shaking, panting and drooling are all signs of distress, if you don’t understand your dog’s body language, please read our guide: https://relaxmydog.com/how-to-understand-your-dog/ 
  • Turn on the TV and put on some of Relax My Dog’s relaxing music for dogs specially made for Bonfire Night! Our Bonfire Night music is tried, tested and trusted by millions of dogs’ and their owners worldwide! Soothing music is the best way to keep your dog calm during the fireworks. We cater for any lengths of fireworks whether they’re 10 minutes or 10 hours! (not very likely, but you never know!) We’re so sure that our music will work and that you will love it, so we’re giving away a full month of unlimited, ad-free streaming for your dog!
  • Try us out here! (you’ll get a whole month for free!)
  • If you need to leave the house for any reason – even for just a moment, ensure that your dog is safely locked away to avoid them from running out.
  • It’s likely that if you are reading this then you are concerned for your dog, but we really should add that you should never tell your dog off. It’s expected that they will be scared and not used to the noise, so be understanding and accepting that they may not be acting normal.
  • Your dog may come to you for comfort, ensure that they get some attention and love, as doing the opposite would confuse them and make them feel excluded.

Additional notes

  • Under no circumstances should you leave your dog tied up outdoors during the fireworks. This severely restricts them and leaves them open to the flashes and bangs with no isolation.
  • Referring back to tip #1 in Preparation, if you know the location of the fireworks and are able to arrange care for your dog in a location away from them, we advise doing that to save any unnecessary hassle.
  • If you have someone to stay with the dog, by all means go to the display, but bringing your dog along would be the worse thing that you could do! Being directly exposed to the fireworks, the large crowds, sparklers and bonfire will deeply unsettle your dog and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Speak to neighbours to work out if they are having their own private fireworks and adjust your schedule and strategy accordingly.

We hope that we’ve covered all aspects of keeping your dog calm for Bonfire Night and that everyone will be able to enjoy it. Play your cards right and you and your furry little friend should be able to have a really good night.
This post was made possible thanks to advice and tips from our own knowledge, as well as great charities & organisations like RSPCA, American Kennel Club, Blue Cross and Dodo. Please check out these great sites to support the amazing work they do!
Looking forward to Bonfire Night or are you still dreading it? We’re here to talk (and help!) over on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles!