Guy Fawkes panic relief for pets

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Autumn is a great time of year for families….gardens being put to bed, nights are drawing in, heating going on, hearty soups and stews are on the menu….Christmas plans and shopping lists are beginning to take shape but the big day is long enough away not to cause any panic yet….

Plus there are fun times like bonfire night and Halloween to enjoy….pumpkins, toffee apples, sparklers and Catherine wheels…the distant whoosh bang and pop of fireworks and smells of sulphur in the air…

We immediately conjure up images of a magnificent bonfire, effigy atop, barbecued sausages, jacket potatoes, mulled wine, new hats and gloves, loved ones faces lighting up at the wonder of fireworks, the oooows and aaaahs, excited children making patterns in the air with sparklers while mums look on worried about the fire risks! It can be a fun time of wonder for most of the family, but not all, as most pet owners will agree.

We’ve been celebrating in the UK since the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 but its still not a natural instinct for dogs to take the festivities lying down. The unpredictable whooshes, bangs near and far, shouting laughing revellers and unusual hubbub of after dark activities can create unrest and panic in even the most placid pets.

The strong smell of burning can tip poor dogs and cats over the edge, their first instinct is to protect you, their pack, after all. So whats an owner to do? In the midst of all the fun, do try to stop and consider things from their point of view. You know them best and every pet has a different personality, but  broadly, try to keep things as calm and normal as possible at home – keep TV or radio on, offer soothing strokes and words, try to distract with playful toys and foody treats. Try to keep  your cat indoors during key firework times rather than letting them fend for themselves in the noisy frightening night.

There are calming snuggly coats for dogs, and chemical blends are available in diffuser form but where do you plug them in without confining your pet to one room which may add to the suspicion and anxiety? 

The natural Bach Flower blends I prepare for animals and children have only have absolutely minute traces of alcohol in them, so they have limited shelf life of about a month, but they are safe for all.  After all, young children can also be distressed at the unpredictable and often very loud sounds, especially as many displays start up at key times when they are trying to drift off to sleep.


Bach Flower remedies w­­­­ere researched and developed in the 1930s by the Harley St Doctor and Homeopath Dr Edward Bach. Each of the 38 flower essences have different properties such  as calm, motivation, energy, patience. I blend up to 7 if these to address emotional issues we all face at different times of life.  For Guy Fawkes night I would particularly turn to:  Aspen which helps with issues of apprehension, unknown fears, anxiety, shaking, trembling, coldness, nightmares, Mimulus  which addresses known fears, nervousness and sensitivity to light or loud noises for example and Rock Rose w­­hich is particularly good for extreme fear, terror, frozen or rigid with fear, feel helpless, shaking, running away.      

Together these natural drops, which can be taken in any non-fizzy drink or directly on the tongue, will offer support, courage, reassurance and calm.

So spare a thought for our animals, large and small, and lets all have a fun Autumn.