Hey, fellow pet lovers!!
Today’s post is about how to keep our pets safe and relaxed on Bonfire Night and the days before and after. Just like Halloween Bonfire night can be a stressful time for our feline and canine friends, but thankfully there are a few things we can do to help them stay calm and relaxed.
Let’s jump straight in and learn how to keep our pets safe and relaxed this Bonfire night.
Bonfire Night & Our Pets
Thankfully, my girls are fine with fireworks, though Nia has been a bit of kick-off lately so hopefully she will be fine this year like she usually is. However, most pets aren’t ok with fireworks, and you cannot really blame them, all the loud bangs, unfamiliar noises and constant confusion, you can see why they struggle to settle.
In fact, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, and that’s not considering our feline friends and wildlife. However, there are various things we can do to help calm our pets during these stressful times, and in today’s post, I want to mention multiple things we can do to help them settle as best they can. Some of these tips are also from my Happy Halloween, Bonus Post.
How to keep your pet calm during Bonfire Night?
Take your pooch out on an early walk before everything gets too busy!
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your pet is relaxed on Bonfire night is to take them out on a beautiful early morning walk if possible. Bonfire Night is unfortunately on a Monday which means most people will have to be up early for work, but getting up an hour or two earlier is undoubtedly worth it to help give your pet the best chance of settling later on. By getting them out early during the day, you will avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off.
Tire your pet out by letting them run around.
Sometimes a walk simply isn’t enough to tire a pooch out, and this is undoubtedly the case when it comes to my girls Nia and Lily. Whatever the occasion if we want them to be relaxed and calm, they need to have had a good half hour or so running around of the lead. Check out my previous post on my girls Xdog Weight and Fitness Vests as they are perfect for helping to turn a mundane walk into a great little workout, Xdog Weight and Fitness Vest, product review, with 10% off code!
Take your pet to their favourite place and get all their crazy energy out to help them relax later on.
Close all the windows, blinds and curtains to help muffle the sound and site of any fireworks.
By closing all the windows, blinds and curtains, you are helping to block out the sound or flashes from any nearby fireworks, and this will help your pet to settle.
Close all windows, blinds and curtains!
Have some treats on hand or fill up a Kong.
I haven’t written a blog post on Kong’s classic toy yet but I really should as they are great and my girls love them! A great way to help your pet relax on Bonfire Night is to do some treat training throughout the day to provide them with some much-needed mental stimulation. Or you could also use a Kong toy to keep them entertained on the night-time, my girls love their Kong’s, and they are perfect for keeping them occupied. For Bonfire night, I plan on sticking the girls Kong’s are in the freezer with a little bit of yoghurt, peanut butter and a few frozen blueberries.
However, you can use whatever you want in your pets kong. Once you have decided what you want to fill it with, then simply stick in it the freezer for a quarter of an hour, then take it out and give it to your furry friend to enjoy. If you are in need of some tasty treats for your pet then check out our latest recipe which is, Halloween Spiced Pumpkin and Coconut Flour Biscuits. This should keep their mind off things for a little while and also provide them with some much-needed mental stimulation to help chill them out later on.
Stick some calming music or doggie TV on.
There are countless YouTube videos of calming and relaxing dog music or even doggie TV to help your pet settle during stressful times. Here are a few videos I found on YouTube to stick on if your pet is struggling to settle or if you’re planning on going out to a firework display and they will be left home alone.
- TV for Dogs! How to Relax My Dog TV with Calming Music!
- How to Calm Your Dog Down Music! Relaxing Music for Dogs to Stop Anxiety and Help Keep them Calm!
Make your cat a little den they can hide in.
My girl Pooss loves to hide in small spaces and if you have a little cardboard box lying around then get it comfy by putting a few throws in, sticking it somewhere warm and in a room with little to no windows if possible, so there isn’t much noise or flashes from any fireworks that go off. If you have a feline friend, then make sure you make them their own cosy hideaway so they can feel safe and are away from all the noise and flashes that will take place for most of the night.
Make your dog a little doggie den they can hide in.
Just like we mentioned making a little den for our feline friends, we should also make our canines one too. My girls always have their cosy cage to go in if they want to and it is super comfy with a memory foam topper on the bottom, many throws and even a little pillow as Lily likes to rest her head. Make sure your pooch has somewhere they feel safe to go if they want to, place some of their favourite toys in their hideout, place throws over the top to help muffle out the sound of any fireworks and you could even put an item of clothing or something in that smells like you to help them settle.
Remember to make your pets den in the quietest room in the house!
Give your pet an early tea.
One of the common signs of stress in our pets is a refusal to eat or an absent appetite. This is why it’s a good idea to give your pet an early tea before the bulk of the fireworks start going off as they may not want to eat anything later on due to the loud scary noises.
My girls have a nice early tea on Bonfire night to ensure they have had a good meal and will be more likely to nap later on.
Get your pet an anxiety vest/coat to help them settle.
I haven’t ever tried an anxiety vest for my girls because they haven’t needed one. Still, I did find the highest rated one on Amazon to put in today’s post, as a lot of pet owners have said it has made a massive difference for their pets and especially concerning fireworks. If your pet cannot settle then maybe getting them their very own anxiety vest might be the key to helping them relax during Bonfire night, make sure you change to the correct size on the order page before heading to the checkout.
To order your pet their own anxiety vest/coat then simply follow the link below, Thundershirt Anxiety Coat for Dog, S, Grey.
*By purchasing through this link you are supporting epoch.pet as we get a small amount of commission, with no extra cost to you. This money helps keep the blog up and running and allows us to purchase pet products to review on our site. I only ever review products that are tried and tested by my girls and I think are great!
Get your pet used to unfamiliar noises such as fireworks using sound therapy for pets.
The Dogs Trust has partnered up with two vets, Sarah Heath and Jon Bowen to help reduce stress for our pets from unfamiliar noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms and various other frightening sounds. They have an audio-based treatment programme for free that you can easily download from The Dogs Trust website. All the products have been scientifically researched and come with a full set of instructions, which makes them easy to use and extremely useful.
If you have a puppy, then this is a great way to familiarise them with potentially scary noises and decrease their chances of being reactive to fireworks, noisy traffic and so on. Pets that are safely and gradually exposed to many different situations, including loud noises, during their crucial socialisation period of 3 to 16 weeks of age. Are often able to cope more effectively with various novel frightening sounds such as fireworks or loud engine noises.
To download your sound therapy for pets simply follow the link and head over to The Dogs Trust website, Sound Therapy for Pets.
Get cosy with your pet.
We don’t go out to any firework displays or set any off ourselves, so what we do is get all cosy in bed with the girls and shut off for the night. Thankfully, they usually are super tired by the time we hop in bed, which means they sleep through most of the noise. If you have tired your pooch out or played with your cat enough during the day, then hopefully they will do the same and nap through all the noise.
So hop in bed, get cosy and cuddle up with your pet this Bonfire night!
Keep your pet indoors during Bonfire night!
The last thing to mention for keeping our pets safe is to make sure they are kept indoors during Bonfire night, there is so much going on and plenty of fires about as well as fireworks going off always, that it really isn’t safe for your pet to be outside. Bring them in before it gets dark to ensure they are safe and sound and to provide yourself with peace of mind.
Now that we know how to keep our pets calm during Bonfire night, let’s learn some of the signs to look out for if your pet is feeling stressed.
Signs That your Pet is Stressed
I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the common symptoms when our pets are feeling stressed, so you can comfort them as soon as you notice they are suffering.
Here are the signs to look out for:
Reduced or absent appetite.
Tail lowered or tucked.
Ears pulled or pinned back.
Trembling or shaking.
Cowering/crouched body posture or hiding.
Increased vocalizations, whining, howling or barking.
Becker, D. (2017). 10 Signs Your Dog May Be Stressed. [online] Mercola.com. Available at: https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2017/02/20/common-signs-triggers-stress-in-dogs.aspx [Accessed 1 Nov. 2018].
If you notice that your pet is suffering from any of the above, then comfort them by cuddling up with them and helping them to realise there is nothing to be worried about and that they are safe and sound. If your pets are hiding, don’t try to pull them out of their den as this might make them even more worried and anxious.
Advice for pet owners during fireworks season – An infographic created by the RSPCA
Also, check out the RSPCA’s firework infograph to recap on a few of the simple steps to help your pet settle during Bonfire night. The RSPCA has created a campaign to help make fireworks less scary for our pets and wildlife across the UK. They are calling on the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to urgently review firework regulations.
They hope to enforce stronger regulations such as:
Restricting fireworks to certain dates.
Only selling private use fireworks that have a maximum noise level of 97 decibels as this could minimise distress to animals.
Fireworks are currently allowed to be 120 decibels, which is equivalent to a jet aircraft taking off. The RSPCA wants to reduce this to 97 decibels, which is equal to a car door slamming and only allowing anything above this to be used at public displays. I think this is a beautiful idea and would help countless innocent pets and wildlife that suffer each year. I have always thought that fireworks should only be allowed at public displays as it is such a safer way of doing things and people can still enjoy Bonfire night by going to a massive show with their family.
To join the campaign simply follow the link, fireworks campaign 2018.
Don’t forget to act normal whenever any fireworks go off, I think this is why my girls have always been fine because my partner and I haven’t made them an issue. In fact the first Bonfire Night we had Nia we took her on a short little walk around the block, so she realised that there was nothing to be scared of and then when Lily came along we did the same. Both girls being calm around fireworks has resulted in Pooss going along with their relaxed vibe.
We keep the girls in on a night-time now and do an early walk, but I really think this made a big difference in how they react.
Thanks for reading today’s post and I hope this helps you pet owners out there that have a reactive pet. Just be patient with your furry friend and hopefully by following the above steps, you can minimise some of the stress they feel during Bonfire night.
If you enjoyed today’s post, then let me know by hitting that like button and giving it a share so other pet owners can learn how to comfort their pets during Bonfire night. I’m really grateful to everyone who keeps coming to the blog to read our content, and I really hope today’s post helps plenty of pet owners out there. Stick around for next Tuesday’s post which is going to be an interesting one all about building muscle and performance for our canine friends.
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