It’s bonfire night and the unpredictability and loud noises and bright lights produced by fireworks can be a very overwhelming time of year for our furry friends. However, there are some things you can do to help your pet stay calm and feel safe during this bonfire night.
Signs to Look for in Your Pet
You know your pet better than anyone, so even subtle changes in their behaviour will be noticeable. Typically, loud, and unfamiliar noises trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response in animals so some common signs which could mean that your pet is in distress include:
- Pacing up and down
- Barking/Meowing and Whining
- Panting or Heavy Yawning
- Being Restless and on edge
- Lack of appetite
So, how can you protect your four-legged friend from feeling distressed and anxious?
Consider the Time You Walk Them
If you’ve got a dog, aim to walk your dog before the fireworks are due to begin. Consider the time it goes dark and give your pet their last walk of the day as the sun is going down. This should prevent any fireworks being let off whilst you’re out and about.
If you’re a cat lover with outdoor cats, you should shout them back in before it gets dark and remember to close any cat flaps to keep them safe inside whilst the firework displays are going on.
Distract Your Pets with Some Calming Music
There are countless YouTube videos with relaxing music tailored to keeping your pets calm and relaxed. These types of distractions are perfect for a pet who’s prone to anxiety and stress. However, it’s important to remember to stay at home with your pet so you can comfort them just as much as the calming tunes.
Close the Windows & Curtains
A dogs hearing is twice as sensitive as humans and cats is three times as sensitive so, closing any curtains and windows will help to muffle the loud sounds and flashes of light produced by the fireworks. The out of sight, out of mind approach may help to keep your pet relaxed.
Small animals such as rabbits, who tend to live outside should be brought indoors or into a suitable shed. If this isn’t an option, cover their hutch with a thick blanket to help block out the noise and add some extra bedding so they can easily hideaway.
Let Them Hide Away
If your pets prefer to hide, let them. Don’t try and coax your pet out of hiding or get angry at their behaviour as this may further add to their distress and worry. Calm praise and gentle cuddles will support them and help them to relax.
Act as Normal as Possible
Your pets are very intuitive and can easily pick up on any vibes you give off – especially if you’re feeling stressed or worried about your pet. By staying as cheerful and upbeat as normal shows your pet that there’s nothing to worry about.
Have You Tried Natural Supplements?
Although the RSPCA advises speaking to your vet about firework anxiety six to twelve weeks before the firework season starts – this isn’t always an option. However, there are some natural remedies which could help to relax your pet including:
- Chamomile or Valerian – natural sedatives herbs
- St. John’s Wort – Calming effects
- Aromatherapy – Natural essential oils can also calm your pets – try lavender, peppermint, ginger or myrrh
- CBD Oil has been known to calm anxious pets
But always check the label and consult your vet on the correct dosage before giving your pet anxiety medication or supplements.
Once the Night is Over Assess What Worked for Your Pets
Bonfire night can be so distressing for most pets so if you find that something works for yours, remember to take a note of it – so you can be prepared for the other firework celebrations which occur over the holiday season. At the end of the day, a happy pet means a happy owner! For more information, contact your vet or head over to the RSPCA website who offer plenty of helpful advice for your furry family members.