Anxiety, fear and phobia. November 5th is a tricky day for pets as well as members of parliament. Loud noises and the potential for injuries makes this a high-stress time of year for animals and their owners.
Vets are expecting an influx of patients as pets are frightened or, tragically, injured by stray or irresponsibly used fireworks. If animal owners step into your store this afternoon please urge them not to take dogs to fireworks displays. Not only will the noises cause fear and stress, sparklers may burn hotter than cooking oil and rockets can reach speeds of 150mph, according to the NHS.
If you’re a retailer, the last few weeks will have brought a range of pet owners to your store. Simple suggestions, such as keeping doors, windows and cat flaps shut and covered on Bonfire Night, can reduce fear. It will also prevent nervous pets bolting outside when the bangs and flashes begin. Small animals’ houses and cages can be brought inside to reduce the level of noise.
All animals should be allowed to retreat to the safety of a den, hideaway or familiar spot. Small animals may want to burrow down – suggest adding extra bedding. Advise owners against leaving cats and dogs shut in a room alone as this can increase anxiety. Encourage them to act in a normal manner – paying excessive attention to the noise will convince pets something is wrong. They should be understanding if the unusual circumstances cause pets to act out of character and cause mess or damage.
Many store owners will have seen rising interest in stress-reducing products over the last few weeks. There are many high quality herbal options, natural products and diffusers available for pet owners looking for assistance. Some may also consider using specialist firework CDs which gradually help to desensitize pets to noises in the run up to New Year.
Finally, I’d like to wish you, your customers and their pets a calm, safe Bonfire Night.