How to help your puppy cope with Bonfire Night

Virgin Radio

28 Oct 2022, 16:14

Puppy and fireworks

Credit: Getty

Fireworks can be very pretty, but also a nightmare for our four-legged friends.

If you have a dog or puppy in the house, it can be a stressful time for all to cope with if fireworks are going off loudly.

It's not uncommon for dogs to be shivering or shaking with fear due to the loud bangs.

What can we do to help our best friend through it?

Puppy training app Zigzag has shared some advice with Metro for puppies and dogs.

Lorna Winter is the co-founder and head of training at Zigzag, and she say starting out young can help.

However, if your dog is no longer puppy, you can still help but it might be too late for this year.

‘This process can take weeks,’ says Lorna, ‘so don’t leave it until the week before as that’s just too late. At Zigzag, we have designed a Spotify playlist of relevant noises you can play to help your pup become more familiar with these sounds.’ 

By practicing now, it can help your dog feel at ease.

Lorna says one key method is to make sure your puppy is relaxed when you play the playlist as they will just register it as background noise.

Putting it on while they are eating their food can also help.

It can also help to put the playlist on at a low volume so they aren't startled or immediately scared.

"Once they have become accustomed to the sound you can gradually increase the volume so that they become familiar with louder fireworks," says Lorna.

If it's too much too soon, then reduce it down and start again.

"Make sure that you are playing these sounds each day at different meal times; eventually not reacting to the sound will become habitual and ensure that on Fireworks Night, the puppy won’t be as frightened,’ says Lorna.

"Once your pup is comfortable with the sounds," says Lorna, "practice at least once a month to keep this fresh in their little minds as, just like us, if we don’t use it, we often lose it."

Another important step is to try and avoid taking them out in the dark when fireworks could go off overhead at any time.

"Exercising your dog during the day will also mean they will be more tired in the evening so they will be more likely to relax and remain less anxious,"

"Playing ambient or classical music will help to distract your puppy with pleasant sounds, reminding them they are safe," says Lorna.

"You can also use a white noise machine or turn up your television volume – this allows the puppy to have a more constant level of noise."

Fingers crossed with practice and preparation you'll be in for a painless Bonfire Night.