How To Get Your Pet Ready For Bonfire Night
Loud bangs, flashes of light, weird smells - is it any wonder pets hate Bonfire Night? While we might ooh and ahh over fireworks, they can be the source of a lot of anxiety for your dog or cat. Whether your pet is the type to hide under the blanket, bark or howl at the window, or even try to make a run for it, here are our top tips for how to get them ready for Bonfire Night.
Get Your Pet Ready For Bonfire Night
Keeping your pet safe and calm this November (or any other night with fireworks) is crucial. Pets don't understand what fireworks are, and that can cause them a lot of stress. A stressed-out pet might show symptoms like destructive behaviour, trembling, toileting in the house, and even aggression. Everyone benefits if you can keep your pet calm on Bonfire Night.
Set Up A Safe Area
In the wild, animals hide when they feel unsafe or vulnerable. Setting up a warm, cosy, and enclosed area in your home will help your pet feel protected when the noise begins.
If you have a quiet, empty room, that would be ideal. If not, you can section off a corner using blankets. Pop your pet's bedding, toys, food, and litter tray inside so they have a comfortable place to go if they're frightened.
Chester's Top Tip: A Hotties heat pad takes just seconds to warm up in the microwave and will help your pet feel extra cosy!
Keep Your Pet Distracted
If there's one thing guaranteed to distract your pet - it's food! A long-lasting treat is a great way to keep your pet's mind occupied on Bonfire Night. It's not just because a treat is tasty - chewing and licking actually release calming hormones in dogs.
For dogs, we recommend a hard chew that they'll really need to work at. We recommend something like a Yakers chew. These natural treats are smoke-dried and hardened, so your dog can gnaw for hours, enjoying the smoky flavour!
Cats don't chew their food like dogs too, so a LickiMat Felix is more up their alley - spread it with their favourite wet food, liquid treats, or even some tasty fish like salmon. They'll be entertained for ages, trying to get every morsel from the textured surface.
Dog on a diet? Instead of food, try a tough chew toy to keep them occupied.
Get Them Inside Early
Many dog owners walk their dogs after work. This late in the year, that means walking them in the dark. While this is risky in general, it can be especially dangerous on Bonfire Night. All it takes is one early firework to seriously frighten your dog, after all. And if they run off in fear, they could hide, get lost, or even run into the road.
Give them a long walk in the morning instead and stick to quick garden toilet trips in the evening. If you let your cat outside, make sure you call them back in well before nightfall to avoid them getting spooked by fireworks too.
If you really can't avoid the evening walk, a light-up collar makes it easier to find your dog if they do run away.
Check Their Chip
Even if you're determined to keep your pet inside, a truly spooked pet might take the opportunity to bolt through an open door. If they do, their microchip is your best chance to get your beloved dog or cat back home safe again. In the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night, make an appointment for your vet to scan their chip to make sure it's up to date.
It might seem like a hassle, but if your pet does escape, you'll be glad you did it. You could also invest in a Halo Microchip Scanner to save some time and check for yourself.
Apply Some Pressure
If your pet is the extra-nervous sort, they might require a little extra help to keep calm on Bonfire Night. You might like to try a calming spray for your dog, relaxing music, or a Top-Shirt. These snug shirts apply gentle pressure to your pet's chest, which pets find very comforting. It might sound strange, but the pressure helps to decrease your pet's heart rate. This brings their adrenaline down and reduces their anxiety - similar to weighted blankets for humans.
What's the best way to calm a stressed pet?
We've given you five practical steps to take before Bonfire Night, but the most important factor is you! If you feel tense, anxious, or worried about your pet, your mood will affect how your dog or cat feels. Getting prepared a few days or weeks in advance will help you feel much more at ease when your pet starts stressing.