'How to make fireworks season not a time of year for pets to fear': Northampton vet practice offers advice

'While it may be tempting to comfort a spooked cat or dog, this can actually be counter-productive'

Friday, 15th October 2021, 10:26 am
Updated Friday, 15th October 2021, 10:29 am
Caroline Longdon, practice manager from Spinney Vets, says there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your pet calm and safe

A leading Northampton vet practice is offering help and advice to ensure that, with Diwali, Halloween and Bonfire Night all on the horizon, it’s not a time of year for pets to fear.

Spinney Vets, which has practices in Spinney Hill and Wootton Fields, has issued a warning to all animal lovers to help ensure their pets are comfortable over the coming months.

Whether it’s trick or treaters knocking on doors, Bonfire Night revellers letting off fireworks or further seasonal celebrations up until Christmas and the New Year, autumn and winter can be an anxious time of year for pets.

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However, Caroline Longdon, practice manager from Spinney Vets, says there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your pet calm and safe.

“This is the most challenging time of year for pet owners, as there are so many potential triggers of stress in animals coming up over the next few months.

“There are the bangs of fireworks, the noisy and hectic festive season, including unfamiliar faces and smells.

“All of these can cause stress in our pets and while some owners will seek guidance and advice, we also know there are many others who just suffer through this period.

“There are a lot of things pet owners can do to help their animals though, such as distracting them with active play, the television or some calm, soothing music.

“We’d also recommend owners of young dogs who are experiencing their first Halloween, Bonfire Night and fireworks season begin a programme of counter-conditioning with the first firework.

“However, one of our top recommendations for pet owners is to remain calm. While it may be tempting to comfort a spooked cat or dog, this can actually be counter-productive.

“If owners appear to be unaffected, pets will feel more secure and confident. Some pets could also benefit from pheromone diffusers and nutritional supplements.

“Also don’t forget your small furries outside – the noise and smell of smoke from the fireworks, as well as the flashing lights can trigger a stress response. Provide additional cover and hay or alternatively try and relocate them to a quiet room in the house.

“Remember we are here to help and please contact us if you need advice for the firework season.”

For more information on Spinney Vets, visit www.northampton-vets.co.uk or search for Spinney Vets on Facebook.

Top tips from Spinney Vets to ensure your pet stays safe during fireworks season:

· Always keep cats and dogs inside when fireworks are let off

· Close all windows and doors, draw curtains and lock cat flaps

· Provide a den, or safe space, for your pet

· Distract your pet with play, the TV or relaxing music

· Stay calm, don’t punish or praise them for fearful behaviour

· Let your pet pace around, whine, meow and hide if they want to. Don’t try to coax them out – they are trying to find safety and should not be disturbed

· Hutches and cages should, if possible, be taken into a quiet room indoors or into a garage or shed

· Give your small pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe