Bonfire Night is just around the corner, with lots of spectacular celebrations planned, but it can be a stressful time for our four-legged friends. Your pet may be at ease with the celebrations, but if not, there are a number of simple things you can do to make it less tense for all.
Make sure you’ve taken your dog for a long walk in the daytime so they are ready to slumber, and ensure they’ve had a comfort break just before dark. You’re now all ready to all hunker down together. Remember, our pets often look to us for reassurance so the more normal the evening and the more relaxed you are, the more they will feel at ease.
It’s a perfect time to embrace hygge, so prepare for a cosy night in with blankets all round. Close the curtains and draw the blinds. This not only helps block out the sound of fireworks, but it prevents your pet from seeing any light flashes, which can scare them. Try turning on your TV or radio before the fireworks start. It can help cats and dogs relax and it will help drown out the noises outside.
There are also some handy calming products, from calming collars, to room sprays and diffusers, which can be useful on Guy Fawkes Night. Adaptil offers a range of calming products which contain a chemical copy of the dog appeasing pheromone (D.A.P.). While products like the Thundershirt can help to make dogs and cats feel more secure during stressful situations. For cats, Feliway offers a plug-in option for a longer lasting effect or a spray for short-term fixes.
Find ways to distract your pet and they may well start to relax and enjoy some playtime, thereby forgetting the noise outside. Toys are an excellent distraction, so delight them with a new addition to their collection. Cats often find a new scratching post a good diversion, while pups are often distracted by a good game of tug of war, and of course, plenty of their favourite treats won’t go amiss! Should your beloved pal want a cuddle go right ahead but don’t force them. If they are happier with a little space, let them be and just keep an eye on them as they patrol until they find the spot they feel best in.
Creating a safe haven for pets can help them to settle. Choose somewhere in your house that’s quiet, cosy and comfortable, and set up a luxurious comfy bed or secure crate for them. Your dog might also like to chill out in a dog teepee, which offers the perfect cosy retreat for dogs and cats on Fireworks Night.
For more on creating your dog’s safe space, see Oli Juste’s top tips.
If you know your pet doesn’t like loud noises, or you have a particularly sensitive soul, they should not be left alone on Bonfire Night. If you’re watching or helping with your local display, make sure they have a trusted human to keep them company.
Dogs often get startled by fireworks and may well try and escape, and cats sometimes run for their favourite indoor hiding place, such as under a bed. Keeping your dog on a lead while out and about during the firework season in case anything spooks them, is a sensible way to avoid a re-enactment of the great escape!
Last but not least, make sure to find out when your local displays are taking place so that you can be prepared and clear your schedule to be at home for your furry friend. Then with a few of these simple steps, you’ll hopefully be all set for some quality time with your four-legged friend.
Updated July 2019