Halloween & Bonfire Night tips for pets

As many of us know, our pets are very sensitive to noise and get stressed by the sight and sound of fireworks going off, so here are some suggestions for measures you can take to try and reduce their anxiety and protect them from these events that are fun for us but not at all for them. I am very passionate about divulging this information as I feel for those poor pets who are dragged to noisy parties by dogs owners who are not aware how terribly scary these can be for their pets.

dog ©iStockphoto.comedenexposed

Firstly, consider your pet’s food, some contain additives that can affect behaviour. It may be beneficial to consider an alternative diet. Try to opt for controlled protein levels and food that is free from sugars and chemicals such as colourings. Whole grains based food promotes stable mental and physical health. An additional meal of cooked porridge (without milk) may help calm your dog. Oats are rich in nutrients such as B Vitamins which are great for supporting mental well-being.

Keep your animals inside and spend time with them to soothe their anxiety. Different people let fireworks off at different times throughout this period. It can be difficult to avoid the noise and stress as it is unpredictable. But keeping your dogs and cats in after dark in the run up to Bonfire Night and for a week or so afterwards can help avoid the majority of it.

Make sure all windows are closed and lock cat flaps so that the pets cannot run away and put themselves in harm’s way. A typical reaction is to flee, so make sure there is somewhere they can hide themselves away if needed, if a dog is crate trained setting the crate up in their favourite place may help.

Closing the curtains and keeping the TV or radio on will muffle some of the noise as will double glazing, ensure the windows are closed to achieve the full benefit.

Don’t leave a scared animal alone if at all possible but try to ignore fearful behaviour, unless it is putting your pet at risk of harming themselves, to avoid reinforcing it. Using a diffuser for a dog which may help them feel calmer through the release of pheromones or a diffuser specifically for a cat, which helps it in times of stress and stops irrational behaviour. Never punish them for being scared, this could heighten your pet’s insecurity.

Outdoor pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs may also be scared by fireworks. It will help to make sure they are shut in their hutch with plenty of bedding to hide away in. Covering it with some old carpet could also help muffle the noise and prevent them from seeing flashes that may distress them. You could also consider moving the hutch indoors, into a garage or shed during firework season.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/edenexposed thanks to Burns Pet Nutrition.

Halloween & Bonfire Night tips for pets – London Mums Magazine

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