We love fireworks: to us humans, they remind us of happy times, but we’re equally aware of how much stress and anxiety they bring to our pets. So, what can we do to prepare for Bonfire Night? Our resident vet has some tips for calming an anxious dog or cat.
Walk and feed them earlier than usual
Give your pet their evening meal and walk your dog with plenty of time before the fireworks start. This will ensure they are more comfortable at night, allowing you to concentrate on comforting them if they are nervous.
Prepare a hiding spot for your pet
This can be anything from a cardboard box under your dining table to a cosy sleeping spot under your bed. It’s all about finding a quiet room, pulling the curtains, and creating a safe space where your pet has access to their bed, some water and their favourite toys. For more inspiration, check out our tips for building a cosy pet den.
Stay by your pet’s side during fireworks
Avoid leaving your dog or cat alone when they are anxious as they’ll need you for comfort and reassurance. This is especially important if you have a puppy or kitten – or if your pet is prone to separation anxiety. Some dogs may even hurt themselves when feeling nervous, so it’s always a good idea to stay by their side at all times (distractions may help, too).
Tips for calming down your pet
- Have you heard of sound therapy? This is when you gradually expose your pet to different types of noises to help desensitise them. Here’s an example from Dogs Trust.
- Keep your pet at home
- Avoid excess cuddling as this may send the message that there is something to worry about. Instead, let your pet guide you as to when they need comfort (after all, they may just want to hide by themselves).
- Stay calm and act normal. Our pets are more perceptive than we realise.
- Never punish or shout – this will only make things worse for you and your pet.
- For extra help, use a calming supplement (for best results, you may want to start using them a couple of weeks in advance). There are many options, a lot of which are completely natural, like pheromone support. Need advice on finding the right treatment for your pet? Give our health advisors a call.