Our 'Top Ten Tips' for Bonfire Night

Remember remember, the 5th of November! Firework season is nearly upon us again. For our pets this can be a really terrifying experience, especially when they don’t understand what is causing the loud bangs and they have no where to escape to. Hopefully these tips will help make the season more bearable for you and your pet.fireworks
1. Desensitisation: Prevention is always better than cure. If your pet hasn’t developed a noise phobia yet, it is always worth trying to prevent it from happening. Getting your pet used to loud noises will take time, so you should start well in advance of firework season. Good advice on firework desensitisation can be found on the Dogs Trust or International Cat Care websites. There is also a sound desensitisation programme on the Zylkene website.
2. Build a den: Try not to shut lots of internal doors as this may make your animal feel trapped. It is a good idea to provide your pet with a save haven to hide out in too. Have a look at our vlog for ideas on how to make a quiet spot for your pet, or pop in to the practice to check out our real life ‘Safe Cave’! or you can watch one being built by clicking here .
3. Distraction techniques: Turn up the TV or radio to block out the sounds and close the curtains. Fun games or treats may help take your pets mind off the fireworks. Try and act normal yourself- if you are anxious or nervous your pet will pick up on it.
4. Keep your pet company: Try not to leave them alone during any fireworks, if they are scared they may do something to injure themselves.
5. Go to the toilet before it gets dark: Only let your pet out before the fireworks start. If your cat is not normally shut in at night, it is a good idea to practice keeping them in for a while before bonfire night, and getting them used to a litter tray.
6. Make sure your pet is identifiable: Just in case your pet does get spooked and run off, make sure they are wearing a collar or tag then identifies them. Check that your details are up to date with the microchip company as well as with us!
p.s remember it is now a legal requirement to have any dog over 8 weeks of age micro chipped.
7. Carb loading: offer a carbohydrate rich meal in the evening as this may encourage them to relax and even sleep through the fireworks. Cooked pasta or potato may be a useful treat in this case.
8. Adaptil/Feliway: These are ‘over the counter’ products that can be used to help calm your pet. They contain synthetic versions of pheromones that your dog (adaptil) or cat (feliway) may help your pet feel calmer and stress free.

9. Other medications: There are other products that vets can prescribe to help your pet feel less afraid during firework season. Please book an appointment with reception if you think your pet may benefit from these.
10. See a behaviourist- If your pet has a long term phobia of fireworks and loud noises a consultation with a trained behaviourist may be worthwhile. They can help produce a tailored plan to suit your pets needs.

If you have any hints and tips for your pet on Firework night, please let us know on our Facebook page (Search for @Oakvetgroup)

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