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Tips on how to keep your pets safe on bonfire night

Vet Kate Hornby at the Grove Veterinary Centre in Barrow-in-Furness.

Vet Kate Hornby at the Grove Veterinary Centre in Barrow-in-Furness.

AS Bonfire Night is approaching rapidly I thought I would look at some tips on trying to help manage and keep your pets safe.

This week I will look at some tips to try to reduce stress and help you manage over the dreaded firework season and next week I will look at some of the treatments available for very fearful pets when all else fails.

Here are a few useful tips:

  1. Provide a den or hiding place for your pet while fireworks are going off.
  2. Use an Adaptil™ or Feliway® Diffuser as close to the den or hiding place as possible, or where your pet spends most of its time. Adaptil is also available in a collar for dogs which I find helpful as they can wear it and feel the benefits all the time. Each collar lasts approximately one month so it would be useful to start using one now. Adaptil and Feliway are both pheromone products which act to naturally calm your dog or cat. I will discuss this further next week.
  3. Ignore fearful behaviour, dogs may pick up on their owners’ anxiety making the problem worse.
  4. Walk your dog early in the evening before fireworks start. This reduces the possibility of fireworks being let off while you are out walking and your dog becoming worried.
  5. Ensure windows, doors and cat flaps remain closed during firework season to both prevent pets escaping and reduce the noise.
  6. Ensure your cats have access to enough litter trays during firework season especially if you’re keeping them inside.
  7. Provide distractions, in the form of new toys and chews. Draw curtains and put the TV or radio on to mask any noise.
  8. DO NOT punish your pet! This will only make your pet more distressed.
  9. Try not to leave your pets alone when fireworks are going off.
  10. Some owners find it beneficial to continue using Adaptil and Feliway after the firework season in generally stressed or nervous animals.

Finally, let’s not forget our small fury friends. Bring hutches inside, somewhere cool like a garage or shed.

Provide extra bedding for them to hide in. Place some old carpet over the hutch at night to try and reduce the noise.

You can also cover any windows in the shed or garage to reduce noise and flashes of light that may scare your pet. It also helps to leave the light on in your garage until late at night.

As mentioned above I will pick up this topic again next week as it is such a big problem at this time of year but if you do require any further advice please don’t hesitate to contact your local vets.

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