Pets' corner: How to keep a pet calm on Bonfire Night

Your questions answered by Chamois Rose-Wood
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I have a cat and a dog and with Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night coming up I'd like to know how to minimise chances of stress.

Peter White, Newport

One of the first things I would do is make sure your cat and dog each has a collar with your details on, so if they escape from the house, people will be able to contact you. In the evenings, I would advise you to keep curtains or shutters closed, so your pets cannot see outside, and have the radio or television on to muffle the outside noise. Also ensure that your cat flap is locked and that you keep cats and dogs indoors if you are in a built-up area or live near a place where you know fireworks will be set off. Choose a room where you are going to leave them, and create a den in which they can hide away from the fireworks. During the day, you can increase your pets' exercise. Take your dog out for a longer walk and play indoors with both pets. Another thing to remember is that you should walk your dog earlier in the evening so you do not encounter fireworks while outside. If your dog is showing signs of being frightened, do not reassure it, because that just strengthens the behaviour and makes the dog think that there is something to be worried about. You should seek veterinary advice if your pets show severe distress. They can recommend sedatives or an appeasing pheromone which should help them cope better with this noisy time of year.

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