How to calm your cat or dog on Bonfire Night

It's the least favourite time of the year for cats and dogs as bonfires blaze and a flurry of fireworks are blasted into the skies. But we're trying to make things more bearable for your pets this Bonfire Night with the world’s first films for cats and dogs, created to help them relax around loud noises.
People watching fireworks

Voiced by actor David Tennant, with playful titles such as Woofering Heights and Peer Window, the films are a homage to the Emily Bronte and Alfred Hitchcock classics.

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We might find them abstract and surreal, but they're highly compelling viewing for the intended audience - cats and dogs.

We worked closely with animal behaviourist Karen Wild and vet Robert White-Adams on their production, with the films using insights into audio and visual content that can capture the attention of a cat or a dog before gradually inducing feelings of relaxation and sleep.
Dog relaxing in front of TV

Top tips for calming your cat or dog on Bonfire Night


Cat and dog owners can also try to reduce the impact of fireworks by following Robert's advice:

1. Take your dog outside during the day and exercise them so they are tired. As with humans, physical exercise induces endorphin release, which among other things has a potent anti-anxiety effect.

2. About an hour before expected fireworks give your dog or cat a medium-sized normal meal. Feeling full will produce a natural anti-anxiety effect.

3. Move your pet to the area of the house in which you believe they feel most at home.

4. Close all windows, doors and curtains and turn on the lights to reduce the impact and awareness of light flashes outside.

5. Put on some background music at a moderate volume – preferably music with a constant and distracting bass or beat. You are aiming to reduce the startling impact of crashes, bangs and whistles from outside.

6. If your pet is awake and active, try to distract them with gentle, calm play.

You can also try our calming audiobook specifically aimed at dogs, narrated by actor Simon Callow.

Teddy & Stanley’s Tall Tale was written in conjunction with Karen Wild, who advised on the overall structure and the precise words and speech patterns needed to ensure the book would have a relaxing influence on dogs– pinpointing necessary changes in diction, length of sounds, volume, dog-friendly frequencies, pitch and tempo.

Simon was keen to help us create our audiobook, being a passionate pet owner himself.

He said: "Having two dogs myself I can understand just how terrifying the sound of fireworks can be to animals. I hope that lending my voice to the bedtime story for dogs can go some way to help petrified pups relax this bonfire night."

You can also download and print 'Teddy & Stanley's Tall Tale' (PDF)

Originally published on 30/10/2012

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