• kaitlynchatwood

Bonfire Night Tips with Bella and Duke

Remember, remember the fifth of November!

Everyone loves Bonfire Night – from sparklers to bonfires to the grand finale of a beautiful firework display; the casual evening is always a favourite among family and friends. However, some of our four-legged furry friends are not quite so thrilled with the loud noises and the bright flashing lights.

Loud sudden bangs, the smell of fireworks and bonfires, bright, flashing lights and unfamiliar smells can all cause anxiety and are often extremely frightening, which means your pets own safety is potentially at risk. The reactions of other animals in your care will also affect how your canine friends react so it is important for their safety and comfort to prepare as much as possible.

Many households across the UK have a beloved pet who get stressed and anxious during fireworks but there are many things that owners can do to help calm their pets and create as relaxing an environment as possible. Bella and Duke’s Natural Canine Behaviourist, Caroline Spencer, has nine tips and tricks to help prepare owners ahead of Bonfire Night.

Please also remember that your pet’s reaction to fireworks will depend on who they trust to offer appropriate support.

Tips to help your dog:

1. Walk before dark: If your dog has an anxious temperament, aim to take your dog for a walk well before dark so they are not spooked.

2. Provide a safe haven: Ensure your dog has a safe space indoors they can retreat to when it all gets too much. A cover bed or a crate (with the door open) are great options for this. Be sure to sit by this space to become a calm presence. If they want closeness to you at this time, they will approach you in their own time.

3. Shut your curtains: This helps in two ways as the flashes of the fireworks can stress out your dog and keeping the curtains closed can help to dampen the sound of the fireworks too.

4. Play calming music: Play calm music for your dog during a fireworks display. Spencer recommends the music by Lisa Spector, Through A Dogs Ear. Click here for more information about how music can help your dog.

5. Be a calm presence: If your dog wishes to be close to you, you can massage your dog or hold them close. When your dog leans into you, lean back into them. Be the support as opposed to the supported. Offer empathy as opposed to sympathy.

6. Calming dog clothing: Do consider a comfort shirt, jumper, T touch wrap, or sleeve. Some dogs feel more secure with this additional comforting device.

7. Use herbal calming products: Alongside behaviour modification, calming sprays (to put on or near your dog’s bed) will help to keep your dog relaxed during stressful times.

8. Use calming chew treats: Give your dog a tasty treat to help take its mind off the noises outside. Many dogs help relieve stress by chewing. Bella and Duke offer a range of natural chewing sticks, antlers or pizzles as excellent options.

9. Feed a natural diet: Feed nutritious, healthy raw dog food. A healthy diet can help to reduce stress pathways in the brain which helps to calm your dog down in the long run.

Caroline Spencer adds: “If you are looking for a long term solution for pets and fireworks stress, become your pets trusted friend throughout the year. One they can rely on to support them in their day to day lives.

“The goal is to remain calm and unflustered. It’s so important to reiterate how you react and feel during these times has a huge bearing on how your puppy or dog reacts. If you are expecting a negative reaction you will get one.

“Like anything, let’s be positive about anything new or different. Just because a friend’s dog or your last dog reacted badly to sights, sounds, smells, and vibrations won’t mean your present dog will. Be super relaxed and just take it as it comes with no preconceived ideas.”

Be sure to check in with your pet throughout the evening, and make sure to grab some treats and calming products beforehand. Enjoy your bonfire and fireworks but remember that many find the loud noises stressful!


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