With most public fireworks displays cancelled this year, families are gearing up to celebrate Bonfire Night 2020 at home, meaning more DIY style fireworks in the back garden.
This is not good news for the nation’s dogs, as the lead up to, and Bonfire Night itself, can be a very traumatic time. The loud bangs and flashes, are often extremely frightening and can cause stress, anxiety, and unpredictability, potentially putting their safety at risk.
With recent research from the Kennel Club showing that 1 in 4 have purchased a new puppy during the pandemic, there will be lots of young dogs who will be going through their first Bonfire Night experience.
Our partner and canine behaviour expert Kirsten Dillon, comments, “Fireworks are a dog’s worst nightmare! With more people celebrating Bonfire Night at home this year, it is likely there will be an increase in loud bangs from different places to terrify our dogs. We’d urge people to consider other ways to enjoy the festivities that don’t involve setting off fireworks in the back garden”.
For dog owners who may be concerned, Kirsten offers her top tips and advice to help keep them calm and reduce stress and anxiety.
“It’s important to make sure your dog feels as safe as possible. There are lots of simple ways to do this, such as closing the windows and curtains to muffle the sounds, but there are also more unusual things you can try to help them stay relaxed and calm. Clinical research shows that reggae is the most effective musical style to soothe and calm dogs, while other studies show that audiobooks of Roald Dahl stories have had similar effects!”
Kirsten’s top tips for keeping your dog calm this fireworks season:
- Create a safe haven
- Look at where they choose to hide and turn that place into a soundproof, darkened escape, whether that’s the downstairs toilet or under the stairs!
- Play some Reggae music
- Clinical studies have proven that Reggae sounds will help soothe and calm anxious dogs.
- Play an audiobook such as Roald Dahl stories
- Studies have also shown that audiobooks can help create a calm atmosphere with Roald Dahl stories being the top pick for dogs.
- Give your dog Sileo
- Sileo is proven to be very effective and easy to administer at home to help dogs with noise aversion. However, please do consult your vet or other professional beforehand for advice and guidance, and make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully.
- Try plug-in diffusers, thunder shirts or pet remedies
- Plug-ins typically use pheromones with de-stressing properties, while thunder shirts provide gentle constant pressure known to have relaxing effects. Pet remedies such as a calming supplement are also reported to help relieve anxiety. Once again, please consult your vet or other professional beforehand if you have any concerns, and always read and follow instructions carefully.
- Use something to mask the smell of fireworks
- Cordite is a trigger just as much as flashes and noises, so finding a way to cover up the smell will also help.
Stay safe this Bonfire Night!