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Bonfire Night – keeping your dog calm

Bonfire Night can upset your dog

It’s a night or that looms large in the lives of many dogs and their owners – 5 November – Bonfire Night. Often people set off fireworks in the long run up to Guy Fawkes Day with the full cacophony exploding on the night itself. This can make an already stressful time of year even more uncomfortable for your dog. Not only are there challenges from noise but also the air can be thick with smoke and other chemicals which may irritate your dog’s mucous membranes. But it is anxiety which seems to affect dogs most.
Bonfir Night can upset your dog

Typical Symptoms

Dogs show fear in different ways. While one dog might growl and wag his tail another could turn into a quivering wreck. Look out for the signs:

Fear signals

  • Yawning, lip licking, paw lifting
  • Hiding and looking for a place to hide
  • Panting and pacing
  • Growling and biting
  • Shaking
  • Anal gland emission. Something a dog will do when very stressed indeed.

Calming down your dog

  • Keep dogs indoors. Close curtains, turn on the lights and the television or play relaxing music to disguise noise outside. Classical music is said to be the most soothing for dogs of all types.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in the house – he may panic and injure himself.
  • A meal containing carbohydrates such as rice or potatoes may calm your dog.
  • Long firm massage strokes may help to calm an anxious dog.
  • Some dogs will be comforted when their owners hold them firmly and lean into them. This is suitable only for dogs who approach you.
  • Create a secluded hiding place for your dog using pillows and a favourite blanket and some familiar toys. Let your dog settle there.
  • If your dog comes out to seek reassurance you can praise him for being brave but don’t fuss a scared dog – this rewards fearful behaviour. Act as if there is no noise at all.
  • Consider using products that help calm dogs. A number of these are available on the market. Or consult your vet who may be able to provide sedating medication.

Above all, don’t panic! Dogs pick up our own anxiety so a tranquil dog lover makes for a tranquil dog.

Tags: bonfire night, anxiety, fireworks, calming.

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.