How to relax your pet on Bonfire night

Bonfire night is steeped in history and tradition in the UK and is often a time for community gatherings, enjoying a night out around the bonfire, and a sky full of fireworks. However, Bonfire night can also be a night of anxiety for our pets. Here are a few tips to keep your pets safe and comfortable this November 5th.

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  1. In most cases you are unlikely to see signs of fears or phobias if your pets have been successfully adjusted to everyday sights and sounds. However there are some situations, like fireworks, which are so infrequent you can’t really prepare
  2. Whilst anxiety can be hereditary in certain breeds or pet families, your reaction can affect your pet’s reaction to certain sights and sounds. When dealing with a phobia, like fireworks, it is important to remain calm and not smother your pets with attention as a way to “calm them down”. Whilst your presence will be a huge comfort, too much attention may lead to your pet believing that their shaking and nervousness is a positive reaction which they may repeat for cuddles in the future.
  3. If your pet shows a fear of fireworks whilst you are in the house make an attempt to reduce the bright lights and loud noises by closing curtains and doors and turning on the TV or radio.
  4. Make your pet feel comfortable; ensure that they know where their “safe space” is. This could be their bed or crate or wherever they will naturally sit when they are feeling anxious. This place should be accessible to them when fireworks are likely to be heard.
  5. Never leave your pet unattended outside. If you need to take your nervous pet outside to the toilet always make sure they are on a lead, a scared pet may try to run away when they are frightened. If you have cats, make sure they are inside for the night before the fireworks begin. This will not only help them stay calm but will make you feel less worried for their safety if you are out for the evening.
  6. Do exactly the same if you are going out. Not being able to see the nervousness of your pet is not an excuse to just ignore it. Follow all the steps above to make sure your pet feels more comfortable when you’re out. Close the windows and curtains, make sure they have a comfy safe space to relax in and leave the television or radio on to drown out the noise.
  7. If you’re really worried, speak to your vet. If your pet is extremely anxious of fireworks and you can’t find a way to calm them or relieve the stress it’s important to speak to your vet about it. They can give you greater medical advice about ways to control or limit the problem like calming plugins or in some cases courses of medication which can help to ensure that your pet stays healthy going forward, especially on bonfire night.

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