The season of loud bangs and flashing lights is upon us, and while many may be excited by the whizzing rockets and bursting lights, it can be a time that many pet owners dread. No matter how much you try to talk your pet down, they cannot speak human and the November evenings can be unsettling, and hard for them to cope with. Here are a few tips to help you help your pet.
Bring Your Pet In Before Dark.
Avoid exposing your pet to the full extent of flashes and bangs, which may give them a chance to bolt. Bring cats in before dark and shut the cat flap. Walk the dog before dusk when fireworks usually begin. For small furries, it can be a good idea to move their hutches somewhere inside away from windows, if possible, or at least cover their enclosure.
As temping as it is, try not to cuddle your pets more. Any change in your usual behaviour could add to their anxiety as they believe there is something to worry about. The calmer you are, the more likely your pets are to relax.
Favourite treats, chew toys, and play sessions (if your pet feels comfortable enough to engage), can all help to distract your pet from the fireworks outside.
Mask the Noise
Closing curtains, playing music, or turning up the TV can all help to mask the sudden sounds of fireworks.
There are herbal options available that are designed to help keep animals calm. Just ensure you know what you’re buying and shop with a trusted manufacturer.
Plug in a pheromone-releasing diffuser in the room your pet spends most of their time 48 hours before the event to help them feel more relaxed. It’s a good idea to find out when your local fireworks display is to give you time to prepare. You can also keep an eye on village/town Facebook pages, which conscious neighbours may use to warn people in advance of their private displays.
Stay at Home
If it’s possible for you to do so, it can help to stay at home with your pets.
Provide Hiding Places
Your pets may want to hide away in a space where they feel safer. Dogs often find a den, with their crate, lots of comfy blankets, and toys, a space where they can relax more. A crate can work very well but leave the door open so they can come and go as they please. Cats will naturally gravitate to their favourite hiding spots in the house so ensure that these are accessible. Small animals will appreciate tunnels and places they can burrow in to hide too. Don’t try to get your pet out of hiding, it’s their way of feeling safe.
Try to organise it so that your cat or dog doesn’t need to go outside to relieve themselves while the bangs are happening. Take dogs out earlier in the night and leave the last trip of the night until after fireworks. If your canine is particularly anxious, it can be a good idea to take them out on a lead just in case. For cats, even if you don’t usually, it can be a good idea to provide a litter tray in a quiet part of the house.
Let them have freedom to roam the house. If confined, they may injure themselves trying to escape if they panic.
If your family enjoy sparklers, never light them inside and always make sure they are extinguished and disposed of properly so no paws can be injured by standing on them the next day.
Frightened animals can easily bolt, become confused, and lost. Making sure your cat or dog is microchipped and your details are up to date will increase your pet’s chances of being returned home safely should the worst happen, and they run away.
These tips can be much less effective if you suddenly alter your pet’s routine when the fireworks start. It is a good idea to begin acting on these tips a few weeks before Bonfire Night so your pet has a chance to get used to it.
If you are concerned that your pet is suffering every year, some dogs and cats can be trained to cope better with fireworks. This needs to be done gradually over a period of time and it can be a good idea to get the help of a professional behaviourist.
Speak to a Vet
If you are worried that your pet is taking a long time to recover from the firework festivities, speak to your vet. Your vet may also wish to refer you to an accredited behaviourist.
We’ve picked out a few products that we stock which could help keep your pet calm over the stressful firework season.
Johnson’s Calming Collar
This collar is designed to help soothe and calm nervous dogs by diffusing valerian and lavadin, natural ingredients known for their calming properties, for up to 4 weeks.
The collar comes in one 60cm length which can be cut down to size so it fits your pooch perfectly!
Johnson’s Calming Collar is currently priced at £8.49.
Johnson’s Calm-Eze Tablets
This pack of 36 tablets is a complimentary feed, containing essential amino-acids, vitamins and minerals which help to soothe nervous and hyperactive pets. It is noted that they are particularly useful at times of anxiety e.g., fireworks, travelling and during thunderstorms.
You can pick up a pack for £5.15.
Adaptil Calm Home Diffuser
With different options available, we have received a lot of positive feedback from our cat-owning customers for this product. Each refill lasts up to 1 month and can cover 70m2.
The diffuser starter pack is currently priced at £34.25.
Anco Hemp Oil
Anco Nutrients Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil with Herbs is ideal for older dogs or dogs of any age suffering from stress, tension and pain. This product should be introduced gradually over a number of days, working up to the recommended dosage, so preparation is key for it to be effective on bonfire night.
This Hemp Seed Oil is 100% natural and contains no artificial colourants, flavourings or preservatives. You can purchase this 250ml bottle for £14.