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13th October 2017

Bonfire Night – Fireworks!

Bonfire night is a fun night for the community, but it can also be a source of fear and anxiety for many pets and their owners.  We hope this article can provide some tips to make fireworks less frightening for your pet.

When the fireworks start

Keep your pets inside during the fireworks and ensure that any windows or cat flaps are shut and the curtains are drawn. Take your dog for a walk during the day so they can be inside before thefireworks begin.

At night, close the windows and curtains and put on some music or television to mask or muffle the sound of the fireworks.Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if they want to, and that they have access to this place at all times.  This could be under furniture, or some cats prefer hiding somewhere high like on top of a wardrobe.  If your pet prefers to hide somewhere in the house just let them hide, and they will come out when they feel safer.  You could create a “safe place” using blankets or towels, or using a dog crate or cardboard box.  However, do not force your animal into the safe place as this could also make them feel uneasy.

Your pet may begin to show odd behaviour including restlessness, making excessive noise, or hiding away.  If your pet shows any signs of fear, try to ignore the behaviour.  Leave them alone, unless they are likely to harm themselves.Don’t punish or fuss over your pet if they show any signs of stress.  If you act normally, your pet will feel calmer.You could also offer a distraction. Treats or a toy can help them feel more relaxed, but don’t force them to play.

Make sure your pet is in a safe andsecure environment, and always have yourpet microchipped in case they do escape.

Before the fireworks season…

We have some great pheromone products that can help keep your pet calm.  They are available in either a spray or a plug-in and for dogs, as a pheromone impregnanted collar so your dog can benefit from this whilst outside of the home.  They should be started ideally two weeks before the fireworks season for maximal effect.

You could also try to desensitise your pet to the noise of the fireworks. Desensitisationprogrammes take weeks to months to complete, so are not ideal for immediately before fireworks season, but are often very successful if started earlier in the year. These may include “Sounds Scary” CDs, downloads available on iTunes containing sounds of various things e.g. fireworks, thunderstorms, andaeroplanes and we even have some CDs which we can loan you from the surgery.  These sounds can be gradually introduced to your pet, starting off at very low levels,and over time yourtime your pet can get used to these sounds and no longer show signs of fear. Please ask us for further details.