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The one thing you should do to make your dog calmer on Bonfire Night

4th November 2022 Print

Experts at a leading dog training app have revealed the surprising thing that dog owners should do to help pooches prepare for Bonfire Night.

While Bonfire Night is a fun event on the calendar, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for both new and experienced dog owners. Fireworks can often cause pooches across the UK to feel frightened and stressed, and in extreme circumstances can even make them bolt or run away.

In 2021, the RSCPA received a staggering 11,785 responses, each detailing the fear responses demonstrated by animals towards fireworks1, showing the impact that the 5th of November is having on pets every year and how critical it is for owners to help their dogs prepare.  

It’s important for owners to plan ahead of this annual event, so to lend a helping hand, Annie Mae-Levy, dog behaviour expert at Woofz, the first truly dog-centric app, has revealed the exact thing owners should be doing, and you may be surprised:

“We’re often told that we should avoid the sound of fireworks and mask it with classical music or the TV, but masking the sound of fireworks does not actually prepare your dog to cope with the sound if they were to hear it on a walk or in their own home or garden – where they should always feel safe and relaxed. My advice instead is to tackle the issue head-on, by playing gentle firework sounds on a music speaker in the house before Bonfire Night.

“Not only does this help to prepare your dog and familiarise them with the sound, but by having greater control of the noise and being with them as you play it, you can help them to feel more relaxed and learn to cope with it. The aim is to start at a really low volume and watch your dog. If they’re showing any signs of stress, lower the volume! If they can be distracted with toys/ food / affection then you might be able to try a higher volume. This is what we call gradual desensitisation! With enough time and practice your dog will learn that these noises are just a part of everyday life. Try building up the volume you play the firework sounds at, adding a couple of minutes each time, as well as playing it at various times throughout the day so they become used to its unpredictability.

“It’s important not to panic and show fear in your own tone of voice, but actually a really common misconception that we cannot comfort our dogs. Calm, long strokes and a relaxed tone of voice can be comforting in this context (regardless of the phrase we use!) If you show your dog that you are worried or concerned for them, they will pick up on these signs and think there is something to fear.”

Other tips recommended by Woofz to help owners support their dogs through Bonfire Night include:

- If you haven’t had time to prepare this year, you may be best getting in touch with your vet to see if they can prescribe you some temporary medication which will help your dog to relax.

- Double check that your dog is microchipped, wearing a tag and your garden is secure. Fireworks night is the most common time that dogs will spook and run away! I would suggest always having a lead on after dark for toilet breaks and never leaving the dog outside unsupervised.

- Create a den-like safe space for your dog to go into and hide in should they want to. Essential lavender oil can be really calming for dogs so I tend to rub this into any blankets or bedding inside the den too.

- Draw blinds / curtains closed so that the dog cannot observe the flashing of light from the fireworks.

- Walk your dog during the day when it’s light outside to avoid the times when fireworks are most likely to go off

- Keep all windows and doors closed to reduce the sound of the fireworks 

- When your dog needs to go to the bathroom, go outside with them so they feel safer and calmer

- Keep your dog distracted with a treat dispenser or brain stimulation toy so they focus on the activity as opposed to the noise of the fireworks

Woofz is a tried and tested dog app that helps you unlock the secrets to what makes your pet tick and create a more harmonious pet-person relationship with dog training lessons, pet tracker functionality, a puppy log, and a handy pet clicker tool all in one app. 

Woofz is available on both iOS and Android devices via the App store or Google Play Store.

For more information, visit or search ‘Woofz’ in the app store.