‘Remember, Remember The 5th of November’…
Lots of fun to be had for all the family on ‘Bonfire Night’, but spare a thought as well for your pets or those in your neighbourhood. An estimated 45% of dogs struggle to cope with the noise of fireworks and find the whole event a real ordeal.
So, if you are looking for some simple ideas to help your pets then here we go:
- Build a ‘Safe House/Den’: the main objective here is to reduce the stress caused by loud noises and flashing lights from the fireworks. By building a den, you are providing a safe place for your dog or cat to hide when they want to get away from it all. If there is already somewhere in the house where your pet gravitates to when they are anxious or upset, then that’s the best place to start. Encourage them to go there by adding rugs, blankets and cushions (some small dogs like to burrow!) and a toy/plaything, plus easy access to their food and water. You might need to actually create a special area for them, in which case and if appropriate, find a dog crate/box which you can make cosy (as above) and drape a rug/sheet over the top for added noise reduction. Also it’s ideal if you can put the crate under a table or somewhere similar – quieter and darker areas are best. Try to create the den a few days ahead of bonfire night, so your pet has plenty of time to become accustomed to it. Let them enjoy retreating there when they want to, so they are in control and will accept it as a safe place to go, even when you are not home.
- Use a Room Diffuser: it is worth trying a spray or diffuser in/near their den/safe house as they can have a calming effect. A plug-in diffuser is ideal for dogs, cats, rabbits and birds. For a room spray try Adaptil (dogs) or Feliway (cats). Pet Remedy also has blends of essential oils which can calm nerves.
Even with plenty of preparation, you may find your pet is still anxious and upset, so there are a number of ways you can help on the night and while the fireworks are going off:
- Close all the windows and curtains to help muffle the sound of fireworks
- Play some music or keep the television on to help mask the noise
- Create some hiding places around the house
- Also, do your best to walk them during daylight hours, avoiding peak times in the evening when fireworks are likely to be set off
- Make sure there are hiding places around the house – boxes with blankets, an open cupboard etc
- Try and keep your cat inside (easier said than done I know!) – they will become much more stressed if they are outside during the fireworks
- Always a good idea too to ensure they are microchipped as if they do suddenly get startled and bolt outside, they are not in danger of getting lost as well
Smaller Animals Such as Guinea-Pigs, Hamsters & Birds
- Partly cover outside cages and pens with blankets/sheets so their area is better soundproofed and hidden (but also try to allow a place/area for them to look out as well)
- Provide plenty of extra bedding so they can burrow and hide
- Consider bringing them inside if appropriate- do this gradually, a few days ahead of time
Remaining calm yourself is also a good tip as animals are very good at picking up on human unease!
Good luck, be safe and enjoy the 5th of November!