Bonfire Night 2021: Soothing music to calm your pets during fireworks

a great dane puppy looking a little sadly at the camera
Not everyone’s a fan of fireworks (Picture: mirrorpix/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Bonfire Night is approaching, which means that while people up and down the country are looking forward to a fun evening out, many pet owners will be dreading it.

It’s never nice seeing your pets in distress, and the loud bangs of firework displays can wreak havoc on their peace of mind.

If you’re looking for ways to help keep your little buddies calm this year, you might want to try giving some calming music a go.

When it comes to dogs in particular, Karen Heskin, head of Pets at Home, says: ‘With Bonfire Night and Christmas around the corner, loud and busy activities will be at the centre of many households. Although we enjoy these times, it can be a really scary time for our dogs .

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‘It’s important to keep a close eye on your dog during the celebrations as they can often leave them feeling stressed and anxious. There are a number of things you can do to help ease this – one being the use of music to help distract and mask the loud noises.

‘Sitting and listening to the music together will also help to build on your bond.’

Claire Haynes, animal behaviourist at national pet charity Blue Cross, agrees that playing calm music can help cover up the sounds of fireworks going off outside.
a happy Siberian cat getting a good belly scratch
Keep your little buds company if you can (Picture: Andrei SamsonovTASS via Getty Images)
When it comes to what you should play, Claire tells that you should embrace what is part of your normal household routine.

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‘For example,’ she says, ‘using the TV or a talk radio station to help mask sounds if that’s what you normally watch/listen to.’

Further to that, she stresses that ‘each pet is an individual’, so what works in one home might not work in another.

‘For example, suddenly putting on very loud classical music could be alarming in itself),’ she explains.

‘Often talk stations, audiobooks or calm classical music can be beneficial, as opposed to music with heavy bass.’

As well as playing some soothing tunes, you can also prep your house to make it as safe as possible in case your pets get stressed.

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Claire recommends making sure your pets have places they can hide if that’s what they like to do when they’re worried, as well as being around to comfort them if they need.

You should also try keeping your curtains closed while the music plays to try and shut the visuals out, as well as the sound.

‘If your pet is very fearful and you are worried about the approaching fireworks season,’ Claire adds, ‘speak to your vet, and ensure you approach an accredited behaviourist well in advance of the next fireworks season.’

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Calming song recommendations

Pets at Home have put together three playlists specifically to help calm your dog down when things beyond your control get loud.

The playlists were inspired by research from the Scottish SPCA, which found that reggae and soft rock are the best genres for reducing stress in dogs – because the beat of the music mimics that of a mother dog’s heartbeat.

That’s why they made a set of three different playlists: soft rock, reggae and classical music.

We’ve also put compiled our own list of calming recommendations for you to choose from.

Learn to read your dogs body language. Since no dog I know of is able to mosey up to the kitchen table, pour himself a cup of coffee, and confess to all of the things that annoy, frighten, and stress him out, I suggest that the next best thing is to learn to read your dog’s many signals and body language. This is how your dog will communicate with you.

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