Keep your pets safe during explosive November

Tiddles hated Guy Fawkes night
"Act as normally as you can – if you try to reassure and comfort your pet, they might think something is wrong, and whatever you do, don’t scold them or shout at them, as this will further exacerbate their bad vibes."
  • | by Kristian Dando

And so commences the season of big bangs.

With Bonfire night just around the corner, and Diwali celebrations getting into full swing, the skies are about to become an altogether more colourful and noisier place.
But it can be a pretty distressing time for pets – particularly cats and dogs who’ve got much better hearing than us and no concept of what on earth is going on.

With that in mind, here’s a few ideas of how to keep your pet safe, settled and as unstressed as possible.

CATS

• First of all, make sure that they’re indoors – even if they like to go outside at night time. Fireworks could end up making your cat panic and run away. If you’ve not got your cat microchipped, then think about doing it soon as it will increase the chances of finding them in the event they do manage to run away.

• If your cat isn’t used to being indoors, make sure they’ve got a litter tray to do their business in.

• Make sure that your cat has a place indoors where it feels safe to take refuge. Cats normally feel safer being high up so they can survey what’s going on.

• To help take the edge off the distressing sound of fireworks, make sure that your cat has a good scratching post or board.

• You can also get plug-in cat pheromone diffusers which will help calm down your feline friend. They are, thankfully, undetectable to the human nose.

• Don’t try and pick your cat up to restrain them if they’re panicking, as this will probably make the situation worse – cats tend to like to calm themselves down at their own pace.

DOGS

• Take your dog out for an extra-long walk in the morning or afternoon – a worn-out dog is much easier to keep calm than one who’s full of energy.

• Look out for the signs of stress in your dog – they may tremble, pace, pant and become clingy if they’re stressed out.

• Make your dog a nice den to hide in with pillows and blankets, perhaps under a table. Reward them for using it leading up to bonfire night by giving them treats for spending time in there so they build up a positive association.

• Dog pheromone plug-ins are available too – ask your vet about them.

GENERAL TIPS

• You can mask the sound of fireworks by playing music with a repetitive beat – though we’d probably stop short of dusting off that copy of ‘Hard House Euphoria Volume 3.’

• Draw the curtains to minimise the effects of flashing lights.

• Act as normally as you can – if you try to reassure and comfort your pet, they might think something is wrong, and whatever you do, don’t scold them or shout at them, as this will further exacerbate their bad vibes.

• If you’ve got pets, think about going to a big public display rather than firing them off from your back garden.

• Speaking of big public displays, check when they’re on so you can keep your pet in accordingly.

• When it comes to outdoor pets, like rabbits or birds, bring their pens or aviaries inside or partly cover them with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed.
Give smaller animals like guinea pigs and hamsters extra material to burrow in

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