The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is encouraging owners to start preparing pets now to prevent possible upset from fireworks on Bonfire Night.
Sean Wensley, President of BVA, said: “Bonfire night is a fun time for adults and children, but many animals are extremely frightened of the loud noises and flashes that accompany fireworks.”
The BVA advises:
Prepare a den for your pet around two weeks before bonfire night and give them praise when they are relaxed there, so they come to view it as a safe retreat.
Use pheromone products next to the den and around the home. These are scents that we can’t smell but reduce a pet’s stress.
Provide background noise and close curtains and windows on nights when fireworks are expected.
Try not to reassure your pet as this often inadvertently reinforces anxious behaviour. Never punish your pet – remember, if they toilet in the house it’s not their fault.
Move small pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, to a quiet place indoors and give lots of bedding to mask the sounds.
If your pet is severely distressed by fireworks or other noises, BVA encourages pet owners to visit their vet to discuss treatment options. Firework phobia can be effectively treated with behaviour-modification techniques, which can achieve long-term success with professional input and owner commitment and patience.