Monday, 1 November 2010

Frightening Festivities ~ Part II

I hope you and your pets had a frightenly fabulous and safe Halloween. Although Bonfire Night doesn't fall until 5th November you will no doubt have been hearing fireworks for some time now.  Around where I live they have been going off in the day as well as in the night (which seems pointless as surely you can't see the actual firework in the daylight?)  Luckily Suki doesn't seem at all bothered, her ears just twitch a little, your pets may not feel the same way so check out the following tips for how to keep your pets (and local wildlife) happy and safe on Bonfire Night...

1. This is a pretty obvious one but, keep all animals indoors on Bonfire Night and a few days prior and afterwards.  This includes rabbits, chickens and any other outdoor pets.  If you can't bring your pets indoors (an aviary for example) then soundproof their home as much as possible using blankets (making sure they have enough air) and add extra bedding.

2. Although fireworks do go off in the day it is better to make sure your dog has plenty of exercise during the day, this will wear him/her out so when night falls your dog may just want to cuddle up and sleep.  I suggest keeping cats indoors as much as possible as it isn't safe for them to wander round when bonfires are being built and fireworks are being set off.

3. It is nice to visit firework displays but really think about whether your pet is going to be okay at home alone with all the lights and loud noises.  If not then I suggest someone volunteering to stay home.  If you do leave your pet home alone, keep the curtains closed and the radio on to muffle the sound of the fireworks. 

4. If your pet is distressed try not to add to the agitation by comforting him/her in a way that could cause further agitation (talking in a high pitched voice, becoming agitated yourself) keep calm and show your pet that there is nothing to be afraid of.  Don't punish your pet for barking or growling as this will lead them to associate fireworks with punishment making things worse, not better. 

5. Creating a cosy den for your pet where they can be quiet and comfortable, distract them with toys and treats.  Cats may prefer to stay in a wardrobe, somewhere dark where they feel safe.  If you have cats, don't try to cuddle them as this will cause further stress

6. If things get really hair-raising then I suggest having a chat with your vet and looking into investing in products such as a pheromone diffuser which can help to relax your pet.

7. If you are having a Bonfire Night celebration at your home including a bonfire in the garden please thoroughly check before you set it alight that their are no wild animals hiding in the pile of tinder.  Make sure the fire is out of the way of hedges and trees where animals could be living.  Keep your own pets indoors and well out of the way.

I wish you and your pets an enjoyable Bonfire Night, keep safe!
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