Many animals are stressed or upset by the unfamiliar loud noises, bangs and cracking sounds of fireworks and the bright lights can be frightening and distressing. This can leave some of them hiding in fear, trying to escape and even injuring themselves.
Our expert team have put together some advice and tips on how to keep your dogs and cats calm and relaxed during this potentially scary time:
Keep your pet indoors when fireworks are being let off. If pets get scared, they can run off in a direction they wouldn’t usually go. Make sure your pet is microchipped and has a good fitting collar and tag - for cats that wear collars, it should be a quick release collar - so if the worst does happen and they escape, they can be reunited with you more easily.
Pets should be given an area to hide if they want to. For dogs a covered crate works well, and for cats a cardboard box or covered bed. You can also move your sofa away from the wall should they choose to go there. Cats should also be given the opportunity to get up high, ideally on a climbing tree, otherwise you can clear a shelf for them.
Feed your pet their evening meal before the fireworks start, as a large meal will help them to feel sated and sleepy. Also give them a distraction such as a toy or some treats.
Consider using a pheromone diffuser, spray or collar. Use Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats, which release calming pheromones to help soothe your pet. You can buy these from Mayhew’s Community Vet Clinic reception.
Do give your pet a cuddle or reassure them if they seek you out. However, a stressed or frightened animal could scratch or bite, even if they wouldn’t normally behave this way. Give them space and remain calm yourself so they don’t detect your own anxiety.
Try playing the noises of fireworks in the background in the run up to firework season. Start off playing it quietly and gradually increase the volume over the next few weeks. This can help to desensitise pets to these sounds and help them feel more relaxed.
Sniffing and licking can have a calming effect on dogs and cats so it can be helpful to provide snuffle mats and lick mats. Chewing can also have a calming effect for dogs.
Tune in to Classic FM’s Pet Classics on Saturday 4 November from 5pm, with a second programme on Bonfire Night itself, Sunday 5 November from 5pm. The relaxing music can help you and your pets.
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