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  • Writer's pictureThe Cambridge Dog Lodge

Bonfire Night - Part 1

Yes I know, its not bonfire night any more so I am little late to the party. But I have been a little preoccupied with terrified animals myself. Hopefully then we can prepare for next bonfire night, and Christmas and New Year where it has become a bit of a fashion to let fireworks off then too.

Dont get me wrong, I used to be a very big fan of fireworks and bonfire night. When I was a little girl, we had a dog called Mutley. He was a chocolate brown staffie cross with medium long fur. And he used to love Bonfire night! We would sit together. side by side, watching the fireworks. But Holly, our dog as an adult was terrified of fireworks and would hide under the table, panting and shivering.

I've called it part one because I hope to share what knowledge and ideas I have, and your response will be 'this is what I do', so right from the start I am letting you know I need to hear from you and find out what everyone does.

As I said at the beginning, we struggled ourselves this Bonfire night. Let me first state, the funny thing is, not all of the animals are bothered by it. The rabbits, chinchilla, chickens and ducks don't seem to really care, and Willow and Barney are pretty chilled too. But Indie does not like it at all, plus we have a dog staying with us who was very stressed too. And it was very hard keeping Indie in particular, calm.

So what were the signs of stress they would show? Indie growled and barked and really would not know what to do with herself, tries to climb on our laps and onto our heads. By the way, she is a golden retriever so she is quite big. Then the dog boarding, just panted and shivered and wanted to get as close to a human as possible. These are just a few signs of discomfort and stress due to fireworks. There are many others; drooling, howling, destructive behaviour, bolting, weeing and pooping indoors - these are not exclusive to dogs, these behaviours can be seen in cats, small pets and larger animals such as horses. And of course it can also lead to death.

So what can we do? Well, we made them dens that were dark and cozy. We wrapped them in towels and blankets. We tied scarves around their ears. We put the tv on, closed curtains and made the room as sound proof (from the outside) as much as possible. And importantly we stayed calm too, showing them that we are ok and there is nothing to be frightened of.

But it was hard seeing them so stressed and frightened. I am just relieved the other animals don't get stressed. Above are some tips I shared this Bonfire night. Did any one do these things? Did they work?

Other things we can do is use a calming pheromone plug in and there are CDs you can buy that play fireworks sounds that can be used to get our pets used to them on the lead up to the particular night.

Pets and fireworks - PDSA This is a link to the PDSA's website that discusses ways to help our pets on the way to Bonfire nights and other likely nights we would hear fireworks. Its very informative and helpful.

I want to know what everyone does, if you can send photos that would be amazing that we can include in Part 2. I think we need to help each other to help our animals. I heard of animals losing their life or bolting over this particular Bonfire night, and I would hate for this to happen again. We know it happens every year, and I know it just feels awful. Despite the sale of 'silent' fireworks, from what I can tell, they are not really that silent. Please let me know whether anyone has used them or not and what you thought.

I don't want to stop bonfire night or cancel fireworks. I just want to help people help their pets through the nights with as little disruption as possible, and help us prepare.

Georgia x

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