Expert tips on how to keep your dog calm on Bonfire Night

With the surge in dog ownership during lockdown, there are a whole host of new pet parents who need help preparing their pups for changes to their routine, including seasonal events like bonfire night.

In advance of the booms and bangs of November 5, certified animal behaviourist Caroline Wilkinson and Devon-based dog nutrition experts Forthglade have put compiled their five top bonfire night tips to ensure furry friends are well looked after and enjoy the fun.

The tips include, taking your dog out earlier on in the evenings to avoid loud bangs, and trying out some natural remedies.

Walk your dog early

Fireworks can sometimes be heard before nightfall, so to avoid being caught out – make sure your dog has a fun, calm outdoor experience early on in the day.

Think about interesting sniffing environments rather than overwhelming busy park playtime so that your dog is at a lower level of stress.

Build your dog a den

Create a safe place that your dog can hide in should they choose to – a covered crate or bed in a small nook in your home can allow them to seek comfort. If your dog chooses to hide, leave them alone – but if they come and seek your comfort provide it freely.

Try some slow, gentle strokes along their body – matching your breathing to the pace of your strokes.

Add good things to the bangs

For younger dogs who may not have experienced fireworks before, throwing them a tasty treat each time you hear a bang can create a better response to those loud noises.

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If your older dog is slightly unsettled but not hiding, giving them something tasty to chew or lick can help them feel more relaxed. Why not spread some Forthglade wet food in a food toy or LickiMat?

Natural remedies can offer support

If your dog is petrified of fireworks, it is unfair to leave them without support for the days and weeks that the firework season seems to take up. Speak to your vet about any natural remedies they might suggest to give your dog some support during this period.

Be prepared for next year

If your dog seems scared of fireworks this year, allow them a few weeks to recover and then seek the help of a qualified, positive behaviourist.

Getting started on a plan to help ease their concerns well in advance of next year is key! You want to start building up a different response to fireworks while they’re not having to experience the real thing.