We are delighted to announce we now have a blog available on our website.
With insights from our experts and frontline staff, it will be jam packed full of all animal related information.
First up is a blog entry all about Bonfire Night and how we can all help our animals during fireworks season!
Many of our animals hate fireworks. Loud bangs and flashing lights can have them frozen with fear or panicking and jumping around in fright.
It’s stressful for both the animal and pet owner alike. No-one likes to see a loved one in distress!
With November 5th nearly upon us, we have put together some tips and advice on how to keep your pets safe and calm during fireworks nights.
How to keep your dog calm
Before fireworks season begins it’s a good idea to provide a safe space for your doggy to relax in. This should be a quiet area where they can rest in peace. Leaving their favourite toys and blankets in this area will help create a ‘safe haven’ for them and they will associate this space with happy feelings. When the fireworks go off they can go to their safe space and it should help to alleviate some of their feelings of fear and anxiety. Some dogs may need some encouragement and reinforcement at first to use this space, and this can be done with rewarding your dog (with a yummy treat) every time they choose to use this area.
Desensitising your animal to fireworks before the season starts:
- It’s important to begin exposing our animals as early as possible (from newborn if possible!) to firework sounds so they become familiar with these loud noises before firework season begins. This will therefore minimise stress levels during these months.
- You can begin by playing firework noises very quietly whilst your dog has an enjoyable treat, for example a kong or licky mat, so that they begin to associate these sounds with something positive.
- A gentle massage may also help your dog to relax in their den. Be mindful however that some dogs may not want to be approached when they are hiding, so it is important to be able to read your dog’s body language carefully and respect their boundaries.
- If your dog has an extreme phobia of fireworks, consider approaching your vet or consulting a clinical animal behaviourist for extra support.
During firework nights:
- Use calming music to help relax them. In the lead up you can also play this music which they will also associate with feeling safe and relaxed. Classical music can help animals calm down and Charlotte Hawkins presents Classic FM’s Pet Classics during the evenings of fireworks nights, so it might be worth tuning into this.
- Make sure you have taken your doggy out for a walk during the day, so they are all tucked up inside safely by the time the first rockets start going off. Dogs can easily become spooked by fireworks, especially when outside and this could lead to your dog slipping their collar or harness when out and running away. Morning walks are the best way to avoid this!
- Close windows and pull curtains to minimise the sounds and ignore the fireworks yourself. Playing with your dog’s toys may help to distract them.
- Offer love, cuddles and snacks if this will help to soothe them.
How to calm cats during fireworks
- Make sure your cats are in before the fireworks begin to help with their stress levels and ensure they are microchipped in case they startle and escape outside.
- Most of our cats run and hide during fireworks. Don’t try and tempt them out of any hiding places, leave them until they are ready to come out.
- Providing lots of hiding places for them will help. Make sure they have access to hiding under furniture or tucked away in a quiet corner.
- Provide love and comfort if they want it but you might find your cat just wants to be left alone.
Once the fireworks are over and they have ventured out of their hiding spots, give them lots of snuggles and treats. After all, they deserve it!
How to help small animals during fireworks
- Before fireworks nights you could start to consider bringing them inside to help minimise the noise impact and flashing lights. This will need to be done gradually, however, over the course of a few weeks, so they get used to being inside. Moving them from their normal area could increase their stress if they are not used to it!
- During fireworks night provide lots of bedding for small animals to burrow and hide in.
- You will also want to cover their cages and pens with blankets, but still leave a small area uncovered for them to look out of. The blankets will also provide some soundproofing to the loud bangs of the fireworks.
- Ensure you check your animals before and after the fireworks, and provide comfort if they want it. A few treats would probably be welcomed too!
Also, we want to remind everyone to remember hedgehogs this bonfire night! They love to burrow into the wood and sticks so please build your bonfires as late as possible, or check them carefully before lighting.
Also remember to check your gardens the day after for any firework debris, to avoid wildlife eating or getting caught up in it.