Bonfire night can be great fun for humans but not so enjoyable for some of our pets.
At this time of the year the loud bangs and bright flashes from fireworks can cause animals great fear and distress.
It is especially difficult for new puppies which haven’t had a chance to become accustomed to loud noises. It may also prove extra stressful for pups bought during the pandemic lockdowns, which were not able to be properly socialised.
These days unfortunately fireworks are often let off in neighbourhoods and over an extended period rather than just at organised bonfire night events. This makes the danger of losing a pet very real. Both dogs and cats can take fright and run away if a firework goes off nearby.
This makes it even more important to make sure your pet is microchipped and that your contact details are up to date with the microchip company. We had a case where a lost pet was brought to us, but we were unable to contact the owner after reading the microchip because their mobile number was out of date.
There are a number of things you can do to help your pet cope with the firework season.
Thunder Shirts can help calm fearful dogs. They look like a baby grow and work by applying pressure which seems to have a comforting effect.
Plug-ins like Adaptil and Feliway diffuse a substance which mimics the calming pheromones produced by mother animals. They need to be in place in your home for several weeks before the fireworks begin.
You can also use firework noise DVDs to desensitise your pet, but these need to be introduced weeks in advance and the sound level only raised gradually.
Give your pet a covered den to hide in with some blankets to dig or nest in.
Food filled kongs and toys can help to keep pets occupied and it is a good idea to have the TV or radio on, so there is some background noise. Keep windows, curtains and blinds shut.
Do not leave your pet if they are afraid and stay calm yourself as it will prevent them picking up on fearful body language.
Try to avoid taking your dog for a walk when there may be fireworks going off. Make sure cats are inside, and bring small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs into a garage or shed.
In extreme cases there are medications we can prescribe for your pet, to help them stay calm.