Whilst we may revel in the cosy winter nights, the bangs of Bonfire Night and the ghoulish sights of Hallowe'en, this time of year is one of the most stressful for our pets. With the early nights also cutting short the normal walkies and routine, it is not uncommon to spot your pet behaving strangely at this time. So, to help keep your animals safe and stress-free, the charity Blue Cross have come up with some top tips for having a happy pet in your home this autumn.
Now the clocks have changed...
- Try not to shorten walkies. If you normally walk your dog in the evening but don’t want to take them out in the dark, try getting up half an hour earlier for a morning walk or take them at lunchtime so that you are in the light.
- If you do walk them at night it is a good idea to get your dog a collar with flashing lights or a reflective dog coat so that other people and road users can see them, especially if you want to let them run free off the lead.
- Wherever possible try and keep to your pets routine and keep their dinners at the usual time.
- Keep pets inside on the night of Halloween in a room away from the front door if you are likely to be inundated with trick or treaters calling as pets might be tempted to sneak out interested to meet new people! Make sure all pets are microchipped in case they do get through the open door.
- If your pet is unsettled by the amount of visitors and wants to hide then let them, but make sure they are in a safe place. As long as they're safe don't try and coax them out from their hiding spot.
- If your pet is worried by the visitors to the door and wants to stay close to you then let them, it might help them feel more secure.
On Bonfire Night
- Always keep pets inside when fireworks are being let off and close any windows, doors, curtains and catflaps to stop them getting out and keep noise at a minimum.
- Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before the fireworks start and don't leave them in the garden, on a lead or in your car.
- If your animals are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on to block out some of the noise but make sure they are not too loud
- Just in case they do run off make sure your pet is wearing something easily identifiable.
- Prepare a den for your pet where they can feel safe – perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes.
- Let them pace around, whine, bark and hide in a corner if they want to - don’t try to coax them out or cuddle them.
- Try not to leave your pet alone and if you do have to go out, don’t be angry if you find they’ve been messy or destructive when you get back.
- If they think you are worried, this can make them feel even worse so stay relaxed, act normally and praise their calm behaviour.
There's more advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.