COLUMN: Roger Salmon: bonfire night and your pets

Roger Salmon
Roger Salmon

With bonfire night fast approaching now is a good time to start preparing to help them enjoy the celebrations too.

Many animals find fireworks scary and it is estimated that 45 per cent of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.

Firework phobia is a treatable condition so seek advice from your vet now before it is too late.

Talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers. These dispense calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your dog and in some cases your vet may dispense calming medication. If either of these options is used they may be used with behavioural therapy and the vet may refer you to a behavioural therapist or use the “sounds scary” therapy pack.

There are also lots of simple things you can do to help your pet deal with fireworks: make sure your pet always has somewhere to hide, for example this could be under some furniture or in a cupboard.

It should be a place where the animal feels it is in control, so don’t interfere with it when it is in that area.

Train your dog to associate that area with positive experiences e.g leaving a variety of toys there.

So when fireworks happen it may choose to go there because it knows that no harm will come to it and is more able to cope.

If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises and that gets on well with your dog, then keeping the two dogs together may help your dog to realise that there’s no need to be afraid.

During firework season, walk dogs during daylight hours.

At nightfall close windows, doors and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.

If your pet shows any sign of fear try to ignore their behaviour as any attention or sympathy tends to enforce their fears.

Make sure your dog or cat is in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there is a sudden noise.

Have your pet micro-chipped in case they do escape.

Finally don’t forget pets like rabbits that live outside.

Partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets to deaden the sound but allow the pet to still look out.