Although Bonfire Night is an exciting, sparkling occasion for many, we dog and cat lovers must remember it’s not much fun for our beloved pets. Cats and dogs experience the world through their senses, so the booming sound and starling sight of fireworks can be overwhelming to them. Their heightened senses mean they are more attuned to sudden loud noises and flashes of light, which can trigger their nervous systems and make them feel anxious.
PawPost caught up with one of our favourite local vets, Kelly Moore, to bring you some very useful tips for keeping your pet calm amidst the commotion. Here are vet Kelly’s suggestions:
1. Create a safe space in your home for your pet – a “den.”
This can be blankets over a table with your pet’s bed beneath it, blankets draped over a puppy crate, or a quiet corner of the house where you put your pet’s bed along with some blankets/pillows. For cats, you can even use a cardboard box with a hole cut into it and some blankets or a bed inside. Cats and dogs who are afraid like to hide away. However, if your cat or dog doesn’t want to go into the “den” you’ve created, don’t force them to!
2. For dogs, make sure to take your final walk of the evening before the fireworks start.
3. For outdoor cats, consider keeping them inside overnight.
4. Offer your pet a new toy or chew.
Pick something that you know will keep him or her distracted. I find freezing peanut butter inside a Kong-type toy will keep dogs busy for hours. A cat might enjoy a new catnip toy, or a session with a laser pointer.
5. Keep all the windows closed with the curtains shut.
The less noise and lights your pet hears and sees, the better.
6. Keep the telly or some music on throughout the evening for background noise.
7. Try not to react yourself to the noise of fireworks going off.
Stay calm! Your pet will react to your nervousness or anxiety. Although it’s difficult, act like it’s a normal night.
8. Don’t scold your pet, even if they urinate or bark.
9. Stay in with your pet that night.
They will feel better if you’re at home!
10. This is the most difficult part – don’t comfort your dog or cat if they are scared.
It’s natural to want to reassure your pet, but the attention teaches them that fireworks are something to be afraid of. If your dog or cat is acting normally, then by all means give them fuss and attention.
Top Tip: If you have a particularly sensitive pet, and feel you may need a bit of extra support amidst the excitement, consider an appointment with your vet to discuss your concerns and your pet’s specific behaviours – there may be medications, supplements, diffusers, or further tailored tips that can help. For a range of natural products that will keep your pet calm during bonfire night, please see our calming essentials.
Featured image source.