Whether you’re dealing with a dazzling firework display in Auckland Harbour or a DIY pyrotechnics session in your next door neighbour’s garden, Guy Fawkes Night can be a distressing time for pets. And it’s not just cats and dogs that feel the anxiety. Smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs are also at risk. In fact, Guy Fawkes Night can be even more dangerous as their tiny bodies can overreact and cause them to die of fright or stress.
Bring your hutch inside
If possible, bring your hutch inside for the night. If you’re worried about the mess lay down a tarp or some old sheets on the floor. If it’s not possible to bring your hutch inside, attempt to soundproof the cage with blankets, cardboard and anything else you can find. Remember, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals have excellent hearing which means the bangs and vibrations can seem much louder than they do to humans.
Filtering out the sound of fireworks with white noise like the TV or radio can be a great way to minimise stress. Just don’t go too loud as this can increase anxiety. Some pet experts maintain that classical music actively calms animals so why not play your bunny a little Mozart or Bach this Guy Fawkes Night?
Create safe spaces
In the lead up to Guy Fawkes Night make sure your pet’s hutch contains a safe space to hide and be comfortable. This could mean an extra handful of fresh straw, a cosy blanket or a miniature box filled with rags. Extra bedding will allow your pet to burrow and hide which can be incredibly calming for small animals.
Both rabbits and guinea pigs are affectionate, social animals which means they’ll appreciate you being around on Guy Fawkes Night. If they’re too stressed out for pats and cuddles try talking to them in a low, calm voice. It sounds simple but if they already associate your voice with things like pats and treats the sound will be comforting.
Essential oils can be incredibly calming, especially when it comes to soothing a nervous bunny or guinea pig. Diffusing a blend of lavender and chamomile can be great for easing stress and calming nerves. Just make sure you’re using 100% pure and natural essential oils, not artificial fragrance oils, as the latter can be harmful to pets and even trigger allergies in humans.
When November 5 rolls around be sure to stock up on your pet’s favourite treats. Have them on hand to try and coax them out of their hiding spot during the fireworks or calm them down afterwards. If you really want to make your furry friend feel special, why not whip up your own batch of home-baked bunny or guinea pig treats?
Do you have any tried and tested tips on how to care for rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets on Guy Fawkes Night? We’d love to hear from you so go ahead and share your expertise in the comments below.