With crowded gatherings, scary masks and loud banging noises, it’s no wonder October to December has been revealed as the most stressful time of year for cats and dogs.
Ceva Animal Health has released a list of the top five most distressing occasions for pets and Bonfire Night has been confirmed as the worst.
Results from a survey of more than 1,000 pet owners across the UK confirm that 81% believe Bonfire Night is a challenging night for their pet, due to the unpredictable and loud sounds of fireworks and the unusual smells from bonfires and sparklers.
Coming in at second place is Halloween, with 77% of pet owners admitting the constant doorbell ringing causes their pet discomfort. Furthermore, 67% fear that the influx of people appearing at the door and the fact that they are wearing scary costumes and masks added to their pet’s distress.
Christmas has been revealed as the third most stressful time of the year for our furry friends. More than half are distressed by relatives staying over, 36% of pets don’t like the fact that their routine is interrupted and 33% are suspicious of unusual objects in the house, such as Christmas trees and decorations.
Easter and the summer holidays have also been revealed as making our fur babies feel ill at ease, causing 50% of owners to cancel or change plans due to concerns about their pet’s mental health.
According to Ceva’s research, tempting treats are also a significant cause of anxiety for pets during the festive period, as 44% of pet owners confirm their pets are frustrated by being surrounded by food they are not allowed to eat.
Abbie Kind, Product Manager from Ceva said: “While the end of summer marks an exciting period of events, such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s important that owners take their pet’s mental health into consideration and take the appropriate steps to make them feel as relaxed as possible.”
The research shows almost a third of pet owners are unable to calm their pets during nights such as Bonfire Night, while 76% say their pet being upset distracts from the fun of the night.
Owners surveyed use a variety of techniques to combat their pet’s anxiety, including keeping them inside during nights such as bonfire Night (69%), giving them treats (41%) or shutting them in a separate room (15%).
Despite being scientifically proven to help cats and dogs handle stressful situations, only 13% of pet owners invested in behavioural aids to help keep them calm, and 44% googled advice rather than seeking the help of a professional.
Andrew Fullerton, Technical Manager for Behaviour at Ceva Animal Health said: “These results are really interesting and show a level of education is still needed in understanding our pet’s behaviour and finding solutions and products that can help them during stressful situations and prevent unwanted behaviour.
“We wanted to conduct this research to support our #AreYouReady campaign, which we’ve launched to help educate owners in the run up to the 5th November – proven to be the most stressful night of the year for cats and dogs. If you’re concerned about your pet’s wellbeing over the next few months, we advise seeking help from a local vet or pet behavioural specialist.”