Fireworks can be spectacular, and are enjoyed by many humans, but a lot of animals find them very frightening. Thank you for Pet Luxury Co for sponsoring today’s conversation.
Keeping Your Pets Happy This Bonfire Night
Every year it is important that we look after our furry friends to keep them calm and happy on bonfire night. We spoke to PetLuxury.co.uk who said: “Not only can pets become distressed, but there is a risk of them running away from home and getting lost or injured.”
And it isn’t just cats and dogs who need extra care at this time of year. Hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and horses can all be affected badly by flashes and bangs.
Luckily there are lots of things you can do to help. A video recently went viral of a dog who’s owner had put on dog videos for him to watch on the iPad, but there are plenty of other things you should be considering doing both on the night, and in the period running up to bonfire night.
Before Bonfire Night
In the run up to bonfire night it is possible to help prepare your pets, and make it easier for them when the time comes.
Firework sound CDs can be purchased to desensitise your pets to the sound of fireworks. You can gradually increase the volume the closer it gets to the night. This should be started well in advance of bonfire night, as the amount of time needed to get used to the sounds will vary from pet to pet.
Pheromone diffusers are available for dogs and cats, which can help with mild cases by diffusing calming pheromones to reassure them. These should be plugged in a couple of weeks before bonfire night.
Make sure your pet has a safe area to hide if they do get scared, like under some furniture or in a cupboard. Try to choose a quiet room in the house.
For dogs, try associating them with feeling safe in this area in advance by leaving toys there, and not interfering with the area yourself to help your dog feel in control.
Have your pet microchipped, just in case they do manage to escape, so that you can be reunited. In England, Scotland, and Wales it is now compulsory to have dogs microchipped, and you could be fined if you fail to do so.
Find out where local fireworks displays are going to be, and if they are nearby. Ask your neighbours to let you know if they are going to be setting any off.
On Bonfire Night
Keep pets indoors, and keep doors and windows closed so they can’t bolt. Block off cat or dog flaps.
If you have small pets that live outside, bring the hutches into the house or garage if you can, or if you cannot, try to soundproof them by placing blankets over them. Make sure your pet can still look out and see, and provide lots of extra bedding for them to burrow in if they get scared.
Close the curtains, and try to soundproof the house as best as you can. Turn the TV up to distract your pets from the noises outside, or put the radio on.
Take dogs outside for their walks or for the toilet before dusk, as it may be a while before they are next able to go out. Make sure you keep them on a lead just in case any early fireworks are set off.
If your pets are pacing, whining, meowing or trying to hide, they are just trying to find safety and you should let them be. Don’t try to coax them out if they hide, and don’t shout or discipline your pets, even if they become incontinent, as they will just become more stressed.
If your pet prefers to come to you for comfort, make sure you cuddle and stroke them to help them relax, as they won’t understand you ignoring them.
Try to stay with your pets on bonfire night, as they will find your presence comforting. Act normally around them, ignore the firework noises, and give them praise for behaving calmly.
Horses and ponies need to be kept in a familiar routine and environment, so if they are normally out in a field and there are no firework displays nearby, keep them there as long as it is safe and secure. If they are normally stabled, then keep them in stables as normal.
Don’t take the risk of going out for a ride if there is a chance of fireworks being let off, and try to not get in the way if your horse gets startled as you could get hurt.
Make sure that if fireworks are being set off in the area you have someone experienced to stay with your horse, and if you know that they are likely to react badly, speak to your vet.
For more information on how to help your pets, contact your vet.