For most of us humans, Bonfire Night is a night of fun. We love the warmth of bonfires, the taste of stunning treats and drinks, and the colourful and loud displays of fireworks. All of this noise and excitement is great – it adds a little action to the dark and gloomy November nights.
But if you have pets, your furry friends might well disagree with you. The loud noises and sudden flashes of light might create a stressful situation for the pet. Your pet has no idea we are celebrating Bonfire Night!
How can you keep your pets calm on Bonfire Night? Here are some tips to help ensure you enjoy the night and your pets remain calm and happy throughout.
Block out the noise and flashing lights as much as possible
You want to keep the windows shut to dim out the loud bangs and perhaps turn on the radio or TV for a comfortable level. This can mask out some sudden bangs and help the pet to relax. You should also pull the curtains to prevent the pet from getting distressed by the flashing lights.
If you have smaller pets, such as hamsters or rats, you might want to place a duvet on top of the cage – just ensure the animal gets enough air. Provide them extra burrowing material, as it can help them feel safer.
Give them something new to do
It’s a good idea to distract the pet with a new toy. The excitement of having a chew toy or a new rubber ball to play with can be a good way for the pet the calm its nerves.
Have a safe space for the pet to hide in
Ensure the pet has somewhere comfortable and safe to go to. Don’t prevent them from hiding under the bed or – instead, create a safe haven by placing their toys and blankets to an area where they retreat.
Don’t criticise the pet for feeling nervous, even if they end up doing something bad. As mentioned, the pet doesn’t know everything is OK. Just try to take their mind off the noises.
Limit their time outdoors
You want to keep your pet indoors as much as possible during Bonfire Night celebrations. Check when there are public displays nearby, and time your walks outdoor accordingly. If your pet doesn’t have to go out, don’t let them!
When you do let the dogs go outside, ensure they are leashed. A sudden firework going off in the distance can cause your dog to run away. Even if you don’t normally need a leash, always use one on Bonfire Night.
Stay calm and relaxed
Pets are social and they will look up to you as the leader of the pack. If you act scared and anxious because of the fireworks, the pet will notice that. On the other hand, if you behave normally and you stay calm, the pet will feel calmer as a result.
Bonfire Night is a fun night and there is no reason your pet can’t enjoy it. Just provide them enough security and reassurance that things are normal. A few treats after a successful night will help them get used to the event and perhaps be less afraid next time fireworks are set off.