Bonfire Night is a big event and one of the highlights of autumn for many people, but it’s not quite so fun for our furry friends. All the unexpected loud bangs and flashes of bright light can be quite distressing for pets. According to the RSPCA, around 45% of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks. While you might not be able to remove all the stresses of Bonfire Night, there are some steps you can take to prepare your pet for the upcoming fireworks season.
It can help to prepare your pets a few days, or even a few weeks, in the lead up to Bonfire Night. One common trick is to try and ‘desensitise’ your pet to loud noises so that they won’t be frightened by the loud bangs and pops of fireworks. You can do this by playing loud noises to them, starting at quite a low level of noise and then gradually increasing the volume over time.
It’s important that your pet feels safe during the evenings when you’re expecting fireworks to occur. You could create a ‘safe zone’ for them to retreat to when they get scared. This could be their crate with a blanket draped over it and some of their favourite toys inside or another hidden, quiet spot somewhere in the house. This goes for smaller caged pets such as hamsters and rabbits too. Even something as simple as ensuring all the doors and windows are closed and the curtains are drawn will help to provide a barrier from the loud bangs and flashes of light. It’s also vital that you stay calm yourself because your dog will soon pick up on your mood if you are acting jumpy and nervous.
There are also several diffusers on the market that can help to calm the nerves of a distressed pet. They work by releasing pheromones into the air that help to tackle stress and anxiety in a completely natural way. As with most things, if you’re unsure, seek the advice of your vet.