Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in Old Windsor has issued advice for pet owners to help their animals this Bonfire Night
Last November, Battersea had 180 stray dogs and cats come into its three centres after pets ran away from home during firework displays. The Windsor centre in Priest Hill had 34 animals arrive at its door.
Battersea Old Windsor centre manager Kaye Mughal said: “While some pets barely react to firework displays, other dogs and cats find them extremely scary and upsetting.
“At Battersea Old Windsor we do everything we can to help reduce the stress of fireworks season for the animals in our care. We give them a safe place in their kennel or pen to hide, we put on music to mask the noise and we black out the windows to minimise the lights of the fireworks.”
Battersea Old Windsor’s top ten tips to keep pets safe and calm this fireworks season:
Make sure your dogs and cats are microchipped so it’s easy for them to be reunited with you if they do run away during a firework display. As of April this year, it’s now a legal requirement to microchip your dog and Battersea strongly recommends you also ensure your cat is chipped. Sadly, so far this year more than 280 cats and 150 dogs have arrived at Battersea Old Windsor without a microchip.
Avoid letting your dogs and cats outside at times when fireworks are likely to go off. Don’t walk your dogs at times when the firework displays are scheduled and keep cats securely indoors.
Create a safe haven inside for your dog or cat to hide in. For dogs, a table draped with a blanket is a great place for them to retreat to. If your dog is used to being in a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside. Cats generally feel safer higher up, so provide them with a box lined with blankets on a secure shelf, with the opening slightly covered.
To reduce the impact of the sudden sound of fireworks, keep a radio or television on. Music with a strong bass is ideal when played at a volume that your dog or cat is happy with.
It’s not just the sound of fireworks which distresses your pets, it’s also the light. Draw the curtains or cover the windows to minimise the lights from the fireworks.
Escape-proof your home. Cats (and even some dogs) can squeeze into surprisingly tight spots, so have a look around your house and block off any dangerous areas your pets may be able to access. Make sure all doors and windows are closed.
While it’s important to make sure your house is secure, don’t confine your dog or cat to one room as they may hurt themselves trying to get out. Allow them access to all safe areas of the house.
Act normally. Animals are very perceptive and will notice if you’re behaving unusually (like following them around or being overly affectionate). If they see that the fireworks have no effect on you, this may help decrease their anxiety.
Provide dogs with a long-lasting chew to help keep them distracted. You can buy a Pedigree Jumbone from the Battersea shop for your dog.
If your dog or cat is extremely stressed by fireworks, you may want to consult your vet. They may be able to provide you with medication to help reduce your pet’s anxiety. However, this should always be accompanied by a behaviour management plan.