While Guy Fawkes Night (5th November) and Diwali (30th October to 3rd November) can be lots of fun for us, they’re often very stressful for our pets. Many animals are completely spooked by sparklers and frightened by the unfamiliar loud bangs and crackling sounds of the fireworks, which can leave some of them hiding in fear, trying to escape and even injuring themselves.
But at The Mayhew Animal Home we have put together some advice and tips on how to keep your furry friends calm and relaxed during this potentially scary time:
- Always keep dogs and cats inside and never leave your pet alone when fireworks are going off outside, as the noise might cause them to panic and injure themselves. It’s a good idea to make sure you walk your dog earlier than normal, and that they are well exercised and have had a toilet break before the fireworks start. Cats should also have a litter tray available.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped – it’s now a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped, but it is just as vital for cats too, as it will give you a greater chance of being reunited with them, should they manage to escape in panic. The Mayhew’s Community Vet Clinic offers a low cost microchipping service.
- Prepare a safe place for your pet – during noisy periods, make sure your pet has somewhere safe in their favourite room or place, such as under a table or bed. They might want to hide there when the fireworks start. If your pet is in familiar safe surroundings it will help them cope with the noise.
- Keep them distracted – close all windows, doors, and pet flaps and draw the curtains, so that your pet cannot see and be startled by the bright flashing lights. If your pet is used to the TV or radio, switch them on in order to block out some of the noise outside, or give them a toy or a game to play with.
- Feed your pet before the celebrations begin as they may become unsettled and stressed and might not want to eat anything when the fireworks start.
- Diffusing the problem – it would be a good idea to use plug in diffusers such as Adaptil, Feliway or Pet Remedy, which release calming pheromones into the air to help comfort and reassure your pet.
- Stay calm – even though all you want to do is comfort your pet when they start to whine or hide in a corner, it is better to act as if there is nothing to worry about. Try to act normally – it is okay to cuddle your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under the table, then let them do this instead. By responding to their distress, you are positively reinforcing that there is something to be worried about, it is far better to ignore this behaviour.
The Mayhew’s Dog Adoption Officer, Lisa Guiney, said: “We try and keep the dogs at our Home calm by turning their TVs on in their kennels to drown out bright lights and the loud noises of the fireworks. We also give them activity balls and toys as a distraction and use Pet Remedy sprays to de-stress them.”
Our Cat Adoption Officer, Matthew Pearson, added: “For our cats we give them somewhere to hide that they have access to such as a quiet corner in their cabin – we don’t try and tempt them out, as this may cause them more stress. We also use plug in diffusers such as Feliway to help comfort them during this stressful time.”
- Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, and other small pets also all need to be treated with care when fireworks are being let off too. Bring in hutches and enclosures indoors or into a secure garage or shed, cover them with a thick blanket or duvet to block out the sight and sound of fireworks, and give them extra bedding to burrow into so that they feel more safe.
At The Mayhew we are always happy to provide pet owners with advice on how to keep their animals safe this fireworks season, so please contact us on 020 8962 8000 or visit our website if you have any questions or queries.