Vet advice: Prepare your pet for fireworks night. Dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals need to be kept safe and calm on Bonfire night. We have some must-read advice from Vet, Dr Michael Lazaris to reduce your pet’s anxiety. 

There are few things more distressing than watching your precious pet scared out of their wits. Shaking, hiding and excessive panting or pacing, are just some of the signs of distress your pet might display. We’ve teamed up with Vet, Dr Michael Lazaris, who has some advice on how to prepare your pet for fireworks night. Reduce your pet’s anxiety and keep them calm and safe this Bonfire night. Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit or other small furries, this is a must-read.

Tire your pet out

Dr Michael Lazaris

Vet Michael Lazaris has top tips on keeping your pets safe on fireworks night. Pic @drlazaris_vet

Try to exercise and tire out your dog as much as possible during daylight hours. Avoid night time walks when fireworks are likely in case your dog gets startled and tries to bolt off. If you have a cat, guinea-pig or rabbit, try to play with them indoors.

Provide a safe space for your pet on fireworks night

Make small dens made of blankets and pillows where your pets can hide if they’re scared. This helps your pet feel like they’re in control of the situation.

Drown out the noise

Close your curtains and windows to reduce the impact of the noise. Keep the telly on or play some relaxing music. Calming for both you and your pet!

Make sure dogs and cats are chipped

Dogs should be microchipped by law but vets always advise to have your cats chipped too. This means they can be traced right back to you if they get scared and run away.

Protect rabbits and guinea-pigs

If you have rabbits or guinea pigs in hutches outside, turn them inwards against a wall during the night and cover them with blankets. Even better, move the hutches into your garage where it is warmer and quieter. Add lots of hay and blankets to help your rabbits and guinea-pigs feel safe and warm.

Distract your dogs and cats

Puzzle feeders, slow feeders and new chew toys allow your pet to focus on something other than the scary noises and flashing lights outside. Ignoring the fireworks yourself can also help, as dogs often play off their owner’s actions and emotions.

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Use calming supplements

Try using natural calming supplements leading up to and on Bonfire Night. My go-to for dogs is Relax + Restore by Your Pet Nutrition.
Calming sprays and pheromone adaptors work wonders for cats and dogs.

Stay home

If you know your cat or dog suffers from noise phobias, try to stay home with them instead of leaving them all alone where their panic can spiral out of control. It’s always reassuring for them to have their best friend nearby.

Block the exits!

Escape-proof your house as some dogs and cats will do anything to get away from scary fireworks, including digging under fences, jumping gates and even out windows.

Talk to your vet

If none of these tips help, and your pet’s noise phobias are out of control, speak with your vet about referral to a clinical animal behaviourist. There are also some prescription medications which are safe and highly effective to help dogs feel safe over Bonfire night.

Dr Michael Lazaris is a co-founder at Vets On The Common, a new vet practice in Clapham, London.

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