Whilst Bonfire Night is an evening of fun and delight for so many families, it’s the worst nightmare of so many animals. Unlike humans, animals simply don’t understand that the loud bangs and whizzes and the bright flashes in the sky are for entertainment, and it can cause them serious physical and mental harm.
Fortunately, there are an abundance of handy tips out there on the world wide web to help us to help our animals stay as safe and calm as possible. We have listed a few for you here.
Make a note of any local firework displays: Forewarned is forearmed, so look up the days and times of organised events in your local area, so that at least you know when the firework displays will be taking place.
Keep your pet inside: Firework displays are usually (OK, always!) after dark, so keep your animals inside for the evening. Take your dog out for a walk before it gets dark and if your cat likes to be out late into the evening, entice them in earlier. Cover hutches with blankets and if your small furries live outside, consider bringing them into the garage or shed for the night.
Make a den: Every animal reacts differently when it is distressed, however many animals find comfort in a safe hiding place. Cover the den with blankets to make it nice and dark, and use pillows and bedding to absorb some of the sound. If you can introduce your pet to their den in the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night, it will help them to identify it as their safe place. Don’t worry if your pet hides in their den all evening and wants space. It’s their coping mechanism. Leave them be but remain close by for reassurance.
Draw the curtains and play music: This might not totally mask the lights and sounds, but it will certainly help a little.
Stay calm: Animals can sense our fear and anxiety. If you’re relaxed and acting normal, they’re more likely to take your lead and worry less themselves. Comfort and reassure them as you normally would in any other situation where they might be uneasy.
Use a pheromone plug-in: These are calming scents which can be diffused around your home.
Calming foods and supplements: Your vet will be able to advise you of the most suitable foods and supplements for your pet.
Make sure that your pet is microchipped: Pets are of course more likely to flee when they are frightened, so make sure that your pet is microchipped and that your details are up to date, just in case.
Don’t forget that fear of fireworks is a learned behaviour. Your local trainer or behaviourist will be able to help you to establish the root of your pet’s fear and provide you with the tools to help them to overcome it in the future.
From all of us at RATS, we’ll be thinking of all the frightened animals this 5th November, and we hope that these tips might help them to feel safer and more comfortable.