How to calm a dog from fireworks – top tips from experts

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Bonfire night is upon us – and while all of the UK is currently in some form of lockdown, it is expected that many will still be running their own back garden bonfires and firework displays in lieu of traditional get-togethers. While most people enjoy the displays, dogs are usually particularly scared of sudden loud noises – so how can you keep your pet calm during one of the loudest nights of the year?

According to research conducted by the Blue Cross, around 25 percent of homes in the UK are considering having an at-home fireworks display due to the cancellation of regular organised festivities.

And while these are fun for humans, they can be extremely frightening and traumatic for animals.

For some animals, the fear and panic can result in injury or even death.

The Blue Cross has plenty of advice for keeping your dog as calm as possible during the festivities.

How can I keep my dog calm during fireworks?

Some must-do’s are closing all windows and blinds to prevent bangs and flashes coming in,

Don’t leave the house during the prime time for fireworks – so basically whenever the sun sets – as your pet won’t have you around for comfort if they are distressed.

Equally, you should not take your dog out for a walk after dark as this is the most likely way to expose them to loud noises.

If you must take your dog out, the Blue Cross advises not to let them off the lead as they could bolt if a firework goes off nearby, and also against tying them up outside a shop while you go inside.

Dogs show they are stressed in a variety of ways, but the common ways are whining, unexplained barking, shaking, drooling, panting excessively and putting their tail between their legs.

If your dog shows these signs of stress, let them pace around and find the place they want to hide.

Once they are there, try not to disturb them – but give them some of your clothes with your scent on for comfort.

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Remain as calm as possible yourself – if your dog detects that you are also stressed, this will prompt them to react.

If your dog gets significantly stressed and reacts by destroying or soiling items, do not shout at them.

This will only make the dog more stressed and reprimanding them will have no effect on their behaviour.

Ryan Neile, Head of Behaviour Services at Blue Cross, told Express.co.uk: “During firework season we need to provide the right help and support for our individual pet’s needs, as not all will require the same thing. Allow those that like to hide to do so in suitably safe dark and cosy areas, and a reassuring cuddle or stroke can be offered to the pets that seek this out”

“Owners who are worried about their pets should always seek professional advice from a vet and an animal behaviourist as soon as possible so that either short or long-term expert help and advice can be given.”

The pet charity has called for further restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks, while more than a third (34 percent) of those surveyed believed all fireworks should be banned, and 31 percent said they agree with a ban on the use of the most problematic.

Mr Neile added: “We know it’s not just pets who are affected by fireworks but people in our communities too.

“It’s been a tough year with lockdowns still in place in some areas and many people having to cope on their own with or without a pet.

“We’d urge people to just consider their neighbours and to give them good notice if they’re planning to have fireworks so they can prepare.

“We’d also ask people to consider low-noise fireworks or even sparklers if they do ahead with display at home this year.”

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