Although most people enjoy the fireworks that comes along with celebrating Guy Fawkes, unfortunately many animals are very sacred of fireworks. If you are a pet owner, chances are you know all to well about the stress and anxiety that pet's feel on Guy Fawkes night. This is because sudden loud sharp noises coupled with bright flashes are all reasons for animals to be afraid and seek safety. The fact that it only happens once a year and that Guy Fawkes turns your pets usual controlled environment into a battle ground adds to the confusion and anxiety most pets feel.
When thinking about how to keep your pet safe and calm on Guy Fawkes night it is worth remembering that our pets’ senses are far more sensitive than our own. A dogs hearing is twice, and a cats hearing is three times, more sensitive than ours. So not only are the sounds of fireworks very loud they can also be painful for our pets. But good news if you spend some time planning there are some simple things that you can do to help your pet be more calm this Guy Fawkes.
One of the best things you can do to help your pet feel more relaxed this Guy Fawkes is to plan ahead. As although your pet does not know Guy Fawkes is coming, you do so can take some steps to prepare them for the big night. If you already know your pet suffers from anxiety or is sensitive to loud noises it can be helpful to have some anxiety relief products on hand will help minimise stress.
Check your pet's microchip & ID tag
Before the big night it is important that you check that both your cats and dogs are microchipped and have a collar with a easy to read identification tag with your contact details on it. This is always important but especially so close to Guy Fawkes as a lot of pets get spooked b fireworks and run away or escape from home. By checking their microchip works and their tags are easy to read you help rescuers reunite you with your beloved pet.
Walk your dog early
Small things can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your pet calm on Guy Fawkes. Such as if you have a dog ensuring that on Guy Fawkes night you take them out for a longer walk early in the day to avoid being out walking in the early evening or evening when fireworks could be set off and scare your pet. By walking your pet for longer than normal you are helping to tire them out so they are more likely to rest and go to sleep early.
Keep your pets safe inside
No matter what type of pet you have it is best to keep them indoors on Guy Fawkes night so they won’t see the flashes and the bangs will be muffled. Once you have your pet safely inside close the doors, windows and the curtains and turn up the volume on your radio or TV to disguise the sounds of the fireworks.
Keep their mind & body active
A good way to help your pet relax is to offer them distractions to keep their mind off the fireworks such as enrichment or food-stuffed toys like Kongs to give the dog something to focus on other than the noise. Slow feeding puzzles are also good as they help to make your pet work for their food keeping them busy and active.
It is extremely important to act natural on Guy Fawkes and not treat you pet any differently. This can be hard especially if you have a pet that is afraid or anxious, but you need to avoid over-comforting them. As if you do so you may inadvertently reward them for displaying anxious behaviour, which may make them worse. Instead, give your pet some space and only reward them when they are acting calm. As hard as it may be it is important to try to act normal, in a relaxed and reassure them if they are upset without over doing it.
Reducing your pets’ anxiety is not always so easily done. However, here are three great products that can help you to do this.
Adaptil: This comes as a collar or diffuser and contains a synthetic copy of the calming pheromones released by nursing canine mothers which promotes calm and secure behaviour.
Feliway: This is the feline equivalent of Adaptil which comes as a diffuser and contains the facial pheromone used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure.
Thundershirts: There are Thundershirts for cats and dogs of all sizes. These snug-fitting shirts target various pressure points, creating a sensation similar to swaddling a baby. Veterinarians and dog trainers frequently recommend this drug-free option for dogs that suffer from a fear of loud noises (thus the name “Thundershirt”), travel anxiety and separation anxiety.
Remember that your behaviour has a significant influence on the amount of anxiety that your pet may be feeling. So don’t scold – Their behaviour is usually anxiety based so if you tell them off for running around or barking it will only heighten their anxiety and make them worse. Don’t fuss – If you try to be too reassuring your pet may interpret this as positive reinforcement for their behaviour. And offer distractions for your pet so that you are best prepared to keep your pet calm and safe this Guy Fawkes.