Battersea animal charity urges pet owners to create safe havens for cowering cats and canines on Bonfire Night

London pet owners are being urged to provide a dark and quiet refuge at home for terrified cats and dogs this Bonfire Night.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is encouraging people to create an area for distressed animals to retire to if the light and bangs from firework displays startle them.

Battersea Head of Dog Rehoming, Rob Young, also warned owners that pets are likely to bolt if scared and advised them to escape-proof their homes.

He said: “This time of year, we often receive a lot of dogs who have run away from home, startled or traumatised by the loud noises and flashes of the fireworks.

“Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure your pet is as comfortable and relaxed as possible this week.”

Battersea has issued the following advice for pet owners to help keep their pets safe and calm during fireworks season.

  • Create a safe haven for your pet to hide in. For dogs, a cupboard under the stairs or a table draped with a blanket is a great place for them to retreat to.
  • It’s important to remember it’s not just the noise of the fireworks that’s unsettling for pets, it’s also the light.
  • Reduce the chance of flashes by keeping your lights on and pulling your curtains shut.
  • Keeping the TV or radio on at a volume your pet will be comfortable with will also help mask some of the sudden bangs.
  • Wherever your pet decides to settle for the night, a long lasting chew or toy can be a great distraction from the noise going on outside.
  • Also, try and keep your pet indoors when fireworks are going off in your neighbourhood.
  • 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 or unsuitable areas your pets may get into.
  • Act normally. Animals are very perceptive and if they notice you’re behaving unusually (like following them around or being overly affectionate) they’ll sense something is up.
  • If the worst comes to worst and your pet does run away, make sure they can be identified (with ID tags and microchipping) so they can be reunited with you if found.

Picture courtesy of peaceful-jp-scenery and eawortman via Flickr, with thanks

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