As Bonfire Night approaches, there are plenty of events and firework displays planned across Northamptonshire.
However, this means there will be distress for our four-legged friends as many dogs and cats will be fearful, stressed and agitated.
Although owners will not be able to alleviate the suffering completely, there are things that can be done to comfort them.
Experts from Pets4Homes - an online pet marketplace for responsible selling and adoption - have compiled a list of tips to help our furry friends.
The experts’ top tips are:
Exercise and outdoor time
Pets are more likely to become agitated during fireworks if they have not had enough exercise throughout the day.
If you have a dog, make sure they have had a long walk and a full day of activity before the sky gets dark.
This will help keep your dog calm before the flashes and loud bangs begin, in case they continue throughout the evening.
While cats may not go out for a daytime walk, you can help them expend excess energy with extra play time: use toys and play lots of games with your cat to keep them engaged throughout the day, and tuckered out by night.
There are several products which can help to alleviate anxiety, or reduce exposure to noise, for cats and dogs.
Dogs, for example, often respond well to anxiety wraps, which are designed to lightly apply pressure to their body, mimicking the reassuring sensation of being held or hugged.
This, alongside a wrap around the ears which can block out some of the noise of the fireworks, helps to combat the fear that many dogs feel on Bonfire Night.
Pheromone sprays are also commercially available and use naturally occurring chemicals to help cats and dogs feel more relaxed.
If there is a particular spot in your home that your pet likes to go to when they are stressed, spraying this area is a good idea because it can affirm your pet’s feeling of having a safe space to go to.
These sprays are completely safe for pets, but it is still a good idea to speak to your vet before introducing new products to your pet’s environment.
Space to relax
Ensuring your pet has a safe and secure place to relax is crucial for your bonfire night set up.
Creating the perfect den for your pet can help their emotional wellbeing in what may be a noisy and distressing situation.
This den should be solely for your furry friend, and must include a warm, comfortable space, their favourite toy or blanket, and access to water.
You can make your pet’s environment even more relaxing by drawing your curtains or blinds to keep any flashes of light out of view.
Wildlife and bonfires
As well as your own pets, there are other animals you can help to keep safe on Bonfire Night.
While gathering around a bonfire is a well-loved tradition of November 5, large bonfires can present a hazard for garden wildlife.
Many smaller creatures that you can expect to find in your garden, such as squirrels, birds, and hedgehogs, might be drawn towards piles of wood and leaves.
Hedgehogs in particular may see large stacks of wood as a shelter from the elements and crawl inside, so, before lighting a bonfire, check for any nestling ‘hogs by gently shifting the wood to ensure there are no animals caught inside.
While small animals are most at risk near bonfires, they can be hazardous for both pets and wild animals alike.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has also issued safety warnings and advice ahead of a weekend of fireworks.