Bright lights, loud noises and lots of people. What can be exciting for us, can be scary and overwhelming for dogs. According to the RSPCA, almost 50% of dogs show signs of fear towards fireworks. Luckily, there are things that can be done to keep your dog calm and happy on Bonfire Night. Here are our top tips:

keeping your dog calm around fireworks

Keep them indoors

Walk your dog when it’s still light outside so that you can avoid being out when fireworks are being set off. Taking them on a long walk during the day can also tire them out and in an ideal scenario, make them sleep through the fireworks. Don’t let them out into the garden when fireworks are going off unless you have too. It’s important to note that normally it is illegal to set off fireworks after 11pm, but on Bonfire night this is extended to midnight. So, beware that if you let them out for their pre-bed garden visit there might still be fireworks going off.

Close your curtains, doors and windows

By keeping the curtains closed and doors and windows shut you are reducing the amount of flashing lights and banging noises coming into the house. Keeping your lights on indoors can also help reduce the appearance of the flashes from the fireworks. The quieter and less flashing there is, the calmer your dog will remain.

Make a hiding spot

Making a hiding spot or ‘safe space’ for your pup to hide under provides great relief for them. This can be as simple as a chair or table covered with a blanket. Try not to lock your dog in any one place as this may cause their anxiety to rise. Instead, leave them with plenty of options so that they don’t feel trapped. This tip also works great for cats.

Put the TV or radio on

Keeping a background noise on can distract your dog and sometimes even drown out the sounds of the loud bangs outside.
Microchip or get a GPS tracking device for your dog: when dogs are scared, they often try to escape to safety. If your dog does manage to run away out of fear, having a microchip or UBEE RANGER or UBEE CITY tracker will mean that you will be easily and quickly reunited with your dog.

Don’t react to the fireworks

Pets can smell fear. If they can tell that you are scared or anxious, this will in turn make them more scared and anxious. It’s a domino effect that should be avoided where possible. If you ignore the fireworks then this will help keep them at ease.

Whilst all of the above tips can be effective, a longer-term solution is to get your dog used to loud noises. You can train your dog over time to associate loud noises with positive things, rather than something to be afraid of. If this all fails, speak to your vet – they may be able to provide some medication to keep your dogs anxiety at bay.