Keeping pets happy on bonfire night
Bonfire night is an exciting time of the year for most. We love the bonfires, the fireworks and the food. But for our pets, Bonfire night can be an incredibly frightening and stressful experience. This doesn’t just apply to dogs either; cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, horses and birds can all be affected too. As pet owners, it’s our job to help keep our furry friends feeling safe and happy whilst we’re enjoying the fun.
The most important thing here is to be able to recognise signs of stress in your pet. Because you know them best, you’ll probably be able to tell when they’re not quite their usual selves. Anything from following you closely, hiding behind furniture, being more vocal than usual or refusing to eat can indicate signs of stress. If you usually see any of these behaviours around bonfire night, take a look at our top sevenly tips for keeping your pet happy this firework season:
1.Keep pets indoors
This one might just be common sense, but it’s worth noting. If animals are kept indoors it eliminates the physical dangers associated with fireworks and bonfires. The explosions from fireworks can often scare animals too, and they could run into the road or try and hide in places they can’t get out of, both of which can lead to injury. It’s also likely that your pets feel safest in your home as its so familiar – so try your best to keep them indoors. If you have a dog that needs walking, keep him/her close and on their lead and try to avoid peak times for bonfires and fireworks.
2.Make sure your pet has somewhere to hide
This might just be their bed or their usual sleeping spot, but sometimes when pets are stressed, they’ll look for different places to hide. Try and give your pet somewhere safe and sheltered to hide – this could be under a table or behind a sofa for example. It might also be handy to put down a blanket or some of your clothes in these spots as something familiar to calm them down. Most importantly, don’t try and force your pet out of these hiding spots. They’re hiding there because it makes them feel safe, and dragging them out will only make them more frightened. Check out this cosy cat den from Zooplus HERE.
3. Invest in a pheromone diffuser
Pheromone diffusers are recommended by many vets as a way of treating behavioural problems and anxiety in pets. Currently available for cats and dogs, they work by releasing a type of chemical called a pheromone into the air to be inhaled by our pets. Certain types of pheromones, called calming or appeasing pheromones, can help to relieve stress. Our two favourites here are Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs
4. Distract them
When your pet has found their haven for the night, find something that will take their mind off the stress and distract them from what’s going on outside. Our friends over at www.cathampurr.com put together a great little hamper full of treats, food and toys. Be careful not to force your pet to play, though, either give them some treats and leave them to it, or play with one of their toys nearby, so they can see you and feel encouraged to join in, but not forced to play.
5. Block out bright lights
It’s not just the loud bangs of fireworks that unnerve our pets, the bright flashing lights can be equally as startling. In order to shield your pet from these bright lights, close all of your curtains and blinds and keep the lights on inside your home. This way, the lights won’t seem quite so bright and are less likely to bother your pet. For outdoor and caged animals, put a sheet or cover on their cage so there is still room to see out, but they are not fully exposed to the lights.
6. Thunder Shirt?
They might sound like a bit of a crazy idea, but thousands of families and vets across the country are seeing positive results from Thunder Shirts. A Thunder Shirt is a scientifically developed jacket for dogs that “applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling an infant”. The shirt presses on certain pressure points that make the dog feel comfortable and relieve anxiety, almost as if they’re being held. They’re proven to relieve anxiety throughout thunderstorms, fireworks and many other traumatising events. Read more about them HERE.
7. Act normal
One of the most important things for your pet is that you are calm. If you’re stressing out about them stressing out, they will sense this and become even more stressed and so the circle continues! Relax and do everything as you would normally, this will be more reassuring for your pet than anything else, and maybe give them a treat or two. We have found a great selection of dog treats HERE.
We hope you’ve picked up some good ideas to help keep your pets calm this November 5th. For the chance to win a pet hamper from Cat Hampurr to help you out, head to Voucher Angels Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for reading Angels