On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, 5 November 1605, bonfires were set alight across the land to celebrate the safety of King James. Over the last decade or more Bonfire Night has morphed into something different. It sometimes seems as though Bonfire Night and its attendant fireworks last several months, merging with Christmas and New Year celebrations. This means that winter has probably become the most stressful time of year for our dogs and other animals.
To help you and your dog cope you’ll find an abundance of advice online, in magazines and newspapers and at your vets on how to keep your dog safe. Turn to advice from authorities such as the RSPCA, Dog’s Trust and Battersea Dogs Home for tried and tested ways of keeping your dog safe. Here is a link to 10 top tips: https://www.battersea.org.uk/pet-advice/dog-care-advice/%E2%80%8Bdogs-and-fireworks
However, you might want to team these traditional approaches to something more bespoke.
Did you know that there’s a story especially for dogs for the lead up to Bonfire Night? It’s true! In 2012 More Than Pet Insurance joined forces with the actor Simon Callow for Teddy & Stanley’s Tall Tale: A Bedtime Story For Dogs. This story is scientifically developed to calm and relax dogs ahead of and during Bonfire Night celebrations. You could just play the YouTube clip to your dog or you can read it to your dog yourself – the words are provided on screen, with indications as to how the story should be read. The story runs for just over four minutes. Find Teddy & Stanley’s Tall Tale at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-peZNCkRzzw
The Power of Plants
We are huge proponents of the power of plants here at Dog Hair Day. Smells can have a very calming effect on dogs. Try burning some high quality lavender oil in a burner. Or put eight drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle filled with water. Shake the bottle then spray the liquid onto a towel or facecloth and place the material somewhere near, but not too near, your dog. Make sure your dog doesn’t ingest any oil. There are also plug-in devices available which diffuse calming aromas – usually comprising pheromones. These are a synthetic version of a puppy’s mother’s pheromones. Many owners say that they do work. They are available as plug-ins, diffusers and dog collars.
Keep it Classical
Another calming measure is to play classical music around the house. Research carried out for the Scottish SPCA revealed that classical music calmed dogs in rehoming centres which means that it may work for Bonfire Night noises as well. During the study, dogs’ stress levels decreased significantly after the music was played into their kennels.
You might like to experiment with music and your dog. Which sounds calm him down? Which ones agitate him? A whole industry has developed around calming music for dogs.
Whatever we feel about Bonfire Night in relation to our pets it is unlikely that the situation is going to change any time soon. Build up your armoury of coping strategies and implement them each year.
DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained here it is for educational purposes only. The writer of this article and Dog Hair Day can’t diagnose any physical, mental or behavioural condition in animals nor prescribe treatment. We urge you to consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog.