Our tips to help your pets stay calm and relaxed on bonfire night

Whether your furry family members have issues with certain noises, cower at the sound of a loud bang or pop,  or hide under the furniture, these tips will help you all feel secure, comfortable and at ease.

How to spot stress in your pets

Lots of our feline friends and pooch pals will have mild fears in the same way people do, but they will usually manage without it becoming a phobia.

It’s also worth remembering that just because cats aren’t running around, salivating, or digging holes through a door, that they’re not frightened.  Cat’s are more likely to take themselves away and hide so it’s not a problem to the owners.  

However, sometimes fears do progress to phobias and we then need to try and work out a way to manage the problem. If you are concerned your pet has a phobia, please call us and we will help you access a behavioural specialist.

The main signs of a scared dog

  • Trembling and shaking
  • Clinging to owners
  • Excessive barking
  • Cowering and hiding behind furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Pacing and panting
  • Refusing to eat

Signs of a scared cat

  • Cowering and hiding behind or on top of furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Refusing to eat

Signs of a scared rabbit

  • Stamping hind feet
  • Staying motionless
  • Trying to escape

We recommend that you do not leave your preparation until the evening itself, we certainly don’t want you to be in a rush or panic, nor do we want your pets to encounter any unnecessary stress!

All you have to do is spend a little time in the week or so running up to bonfire night with your pet, getting them used to some slight changes in their routine.  You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make some small adjustments that do not take up too much of your time.

Here are our top tips to help you cope with fireworks night…

1/ Now is the time to start taking your dog for a walk earlier in the evening.  This will ease them in gently to a slight change in their routine. 

2/ For dogs- you can invest in Adaptil plug ins and spray products at least two weeks before fireworks night begins.  Spray onto your pet’s blankets and toys in their den, leaving 15 minutes before you introduce your dog so that the alcohol smell disappears.  Or they could wear and Adaptil collar that fits snugly around their neck.  Adaptil is a synthetic copy of a pheromone reducing anxiety in puppies.

3/ For cats- you can use Feliway plug ins or sprays.  The smell is a synthetic copy of a pheromone. This special scent (odourless to people and other animals) that Feliway utilizes is a replication of the pheromone that cats leave naturally when they are feeling comfortable in their environment.

Check out this great video link that shows you how to apply the sprays within your home so that it is the most effective, and lasts a long time…

4/ Give your dog a big starchy meal the night before the fireworks to help them relax.

5/ Build a safe, dark, comfortable den with their favourite toys, treats and blankets in a quiet place.  Let your pet have access to this den at all times and, for dogs in particular, offer healthy treats and praise when your dog uses it, this will build a positive association with this space. Also leave the door to the room that your pet is spending the majority of the time, open. This creates a space for your pet to come and go freely, so they don’t feel in any way trapped.

Check out this incredibly informative video that shows you how to set up a den, it’s very easy, and it’s well worth taking a few minutes to have a look..

It also means that they can come and see you for some TLC! With cats make sure their favourite ‘safe place’ is available to them, and try to avoid constantly checking on them if they have chosen to hide there during fireworks.

6/ On the night of the celebrations, shut all doors and windows to keep the noise to a minimum. This is subtle but very effective, and it also creates a buffer between the noise and your pet.  Cover glass doors with blankets to muffle any sounds.  Close curtains to stop block out flashes.

7/ Ensure dogs and cats are micro-chipped so that if they escape from the house, scared and confused, there is a better chance you will be reunited.

8/ Spend time helping your dog or cat relax with some music or TV.  You’ll be surprised how you will all instantly feel more at ease- and the music will drown out any other noises.

For our feline friends only:

9/ You can bring your cat in a few hours earlier, staggering the times so it’s a bit earlier each time, so that he or she gets used to it.

10/ Shut the flap before the evening draws in (remember the nights will get darker earlier). Also make sure they have a litter tray available, as well as enough food and water and a cosy blanket for them to snuggle into!

 Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds..

Let’s not forget rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds can all be affected too, and you can really help your pet by ensuring you make them as calm and comfortable as possible. Ideally, bring the hutches inside. If this is not possible, partly cover hutches and other outside cages with blankets so that they have some soundproofing.Streatham Hill Vets hamsters

Please note that our advice is not a proper substitute for a consultation with a vet, and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your surgery for advice or treatment if you are worried about the health of your pet.  Even if  we are closed, contact our out of hours emergency clinic.

London Vets

Blackheath Veterinary Surgery
0208 858 5151

Corner Veterinary Surgery
0208 641 6126

Croydon Veterinary Surgery
0208 655 0235

Mayow Veterinary Surgery
0208 659 4496

Mitcham Veterinary Surgery
0208 640 5766

Streatham Hill Veterinary Surgery
0208 674 3525

The Animal Clinic
0208 319 3033

Wimbledon Veterinary Surgery
0208 540 7275

Kent Vets

Briar House Veterinary Surgery
01843 863395

Lakeview Veterinary Surgery
01304 375571

The Manor Veterinary Surgery
01634 407777



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: