Making sure Bonfire Night doesn’t go with a bang!

With Halloween and Bonfire Night fast approaching, we thought it would be useful to remind our readers of some practical steps that you can take to help your pets stay calm amidst the inevitable bangs and whizzing noises experienced at this time of year.

It goes without saying that outdoor pets are more exposed to the sights and sounds of Halloween and Bonfire Night, and so we recommend checking on them regularly to reassure yourself that no ‘tricks’ have been played near the hutch, and that any stray fireworks or sparklers are safely removed. If you can, move your pet’s hutch into a garage or shed for added protection and noise insulation, and if this is not possible, add plenty of extra hay and place some old carpet over the hutch to dull the noise and provide extra warmth.

Many dogs and cats are likely to find unexpected loud noises stressful (the RSPCA estimates that 45% of dogs exhibit signs of stress when they hear fireworks). With a little bit of preparation, you can lessen the effect on your cats and dogs – listed here are our Top Ten Tips, including some products that you may wish to buy now so that you’re ready:

  1. In the run up to Bonfire Night, start letting your cat out or taking your dog for a walk earlier in the evening so that they are used to a new routine rather than being stressed by a big change on the night.
  2. Consider using an Adaptil spray on your dog’s blankets and toys – by mimicking the appeasing pheromones produced naturally by the mother it helps to calm your dog down. For cats, Feliway sprays work in the same way. Both products are available either from your vet or online, along with plug-in diffusers.
  3. Build a safe, dark, comfortable den in a quiet place indoors, and place your pet’s favourite toys, treats and blankets in it.
  4. Leave the door to the room where you have made this den open, or provide space for your pet to come and go freely – shutting your cat or dog in will only increase their stress levels.
  5. Lock or block any cat flaps so that your pet cannot escape, and provide a litter tray, plenty of food and water and a comfortable blanket.
  6. Keep all doors and windows closed, drawing curtains and blinds to keep the noise to a minimum.
  7. Sit with your dog or cat, helping them to relax by following a normal evening routine and with music or the television on in the background.
  8. If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behaviour. Don’t punish or fuss over him / her as this will give the message that what they are doing attracts attention, and thus makes things worse in the long run.
  9. If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises (and is already familiar to your own dog), keeping the two together during the evenings may help demonstrate that there’s no need to be afraid.
  10. If your pets are not already microchipped, it’s a very good idea (and a legal requirement for dogs) to get this done. That way, if your pet does manage to escape and runs off, or hides somewhere unfamiliar, he / she can be safely and quickly returned to you.

We wish you all a safe and calm Bonfire Night!

Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team,
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.

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