With Halloween and Fireworks Night just around the corner, we are approaching a time celebrated with parties, wild costumes and fireworks. While we are able to understand the reasons behind these celebrations, the same cannot necessarily be said for our pets. Unfortunately, our dogs and cats cannot grasp why it is that they are suddenly hearing the loud fireworks or seeing people dressed so strangely compared to normal and this extensive exposure to abnormal sights and sounds can lead to our pets becoming overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. Prepare your pets for the sounds of fireworks Over the week leading up to Fireworks Night, allow your pets time to get used to the sounds of fireworks exploding; this can be either through the use of easily available CDs or by simply playing youtube videos – just remember to make sure to keep them at a low volume. Ensure that your pet has been microchipped It is important for your pet to have been microchipped and on nights of higher risk, a collar with your address and phone number may also be beneficial. Not only is microchipping a legal requirement for dogs as of 2016, it is a vital measure in having your pets returned to you swiftly if they do happen to escape. Create safe spaces for your pets This could either be a quiet den or as hiding places around the house that your pet can seek safety in; these safe spaces could include under the bed, a space next to the sofa or if your pet is crate trained, in their crate. Old unwashed clothes would make a nice addition to these safe spaces as your scent will help to calm down your pets. Walk your dog earlier in the day Try to walk your dog before the sun sets, so they are safely back inside before fireworks begin to go off. Another thing to bare in mind is that dogs are unlikely to eat their food when anxious and so bringing forward dinner time an hour or two before sun set may be helpful. Close all doors and windows Closing all doors and windows is an effective way of muffling the sound of the fireworks and shutting the curtains will block out the frightening flashing lights. Remember, whenever opening the front door, your pets should be in a different room so they can’t run out. Distract your pets from the fireworks Keeping the TV or radio on will help to take your pet’s attention away from the scary noises. Having toys to play with in the same room as your pets will provide them another possible distraction. Comfort your pets If your pets come up to you seeking affection, comfort them to calm them down and do not remove yourself from them where possible. However, if your pet retreats into its den/ crate, do not try to make them come out as it may give them more anxiety. Thundershirts Try a spandex T-shirt that’s meant to give an animal a balanced hug, and a vest with straps designed to put pressure on particular parts of the body. “Their job is to squeeze,” Learn says. “It’s postulated that it feels like a hug.” Thanks to the RSPCA, The Kennel Club, The Blue Cross and Paurina for their great articles which we referenced when researching this article.