Helping To Keep Your Pets Happy And Calm On Bonfire Night
by Laura Barns
The 5th of November can be one of the most frightening nights of the year for our beloved pets. From bonfires to bangs, there are lots of different sounds, sights and smells that can cause our dogs, cats and other animals anxiety and stress.
It is a natural ‘fight or flight’ response for animals to be spooked by loud noises and bright, flashing lights. This is why loud fireworks and thunderstorms can scare many pets. Though luckily, with a bit of pre-planning they can be kept calmer and happier. Here are some of our top tips for doing just that.
Keep your pets indoors
One of the best ways to look after your pets on Bonfire Night is to keep them locked indoors, as far away from the noise and lights of fireworks as possible. This will mean double-checking windows and catflaps are shut too.
You can create a safe, quiet den for your pet in a corner of a room they like to spend time in, or under a bed with blankets or some of your old clothes, which will smell familiar to them. You can introduce them to space in advance of the big night, so they are aware it's their special place to relax.
If you have outdoor rabbit or guinea pig hutches, etc., it's recommended to bring them indoors for Bonfire Night, as smaller animals can get scared of the bangs and lights, too.
Ensure your pets are microchipped
Some cats and dogs may panic and run off when they hear loud fireworks bang, so making sure they’ll be able to return safely is very important. If you have a new puppy or kitten, it's essential that they are microchipped ahead of the November festivities, which may last longer than just the 5th.
Also take the time to check your pet's microchip details are up-to-date, particularly important if you've adopted or fostered an animal, or if you've recently changed your address.
Help make your pets tired before night time
Particularly if you have a dog, take it for an extra-long lunchtime walk, or a walk as close to nightfall as possible. A tired dog (or other pet) is less likely to bothered by its surroundings, including scary fireworks.
If they're struggling to settle when the fireworks start, playing their favourite active games with them, with their much-loved toys can be a good way to distract them and tire them out. Though if they're trying to hide/take themselves to somewhere quiet, it's best to leave them be and instead just sit near them, as trying to move them from their 'safe place' will make them even more stressed.
Make sure they have easy access to everything they need
From cat litter trays to water bowls, ensuring your pets can find everything they rely on, quickly and easily during this stressful period will help them relax. Also, when our pets are more stressed, they're likely to become extra thirsty, or will need the toilet more frequently, so this will be important for their general comfort, too.
Don't leave them alone, if possible
One of the best ways to comfort our pets whenever they're feeling sad or stressed, is simply to be with them. If you're able to, sitting with them, praising them and comforting them will help relieve some of their firework-related stresses.
Also try to act normal around them during these tough times, to try and help them feel more confident that things are ok.
Do you have any other tips for how to keep animals calm during Bonfire Night? We'd love to hear! And as always, if in doubt, or if you'd like some extra support, chat to your vet who will have lots of other suggestions.
By Laura Barns
Laura is our Copywriter, who is obsessed with the Hearty Roots Stew (and has been known to eat a double serve for lunch on more than one occasion). On her day off you’ll find her walking her puppy Ralph, stopping off at bookshops and cocktail bars along the way.