Fireworks night is often filled with anticipation, excitement and color, yet there's no denying that it can be loud, with even low-noise fireworks reaching quite high decibels. And those vibrant colors and sparkles, as awesome as they are, erupt with bangs and flashes that can be pretty disorientating for humans, not to mention animals – and it's our pets that feel it the most.
In the UK, Bonfire night will take place this Saturday (November 5). Amazon recognises the distress that this can cause our feline-friends, so it's teamed up with feline behaviourist, Anita Kelsey, and a professional music composer to create a special playlist to help animals relax via Alexa-enabled devices. Using scientific research, which has identified that cats respond more positively to specific tones and frequencies, the team has formulated tracks that are designed to calm kitty.
The specially composed music for cats is accessible via the voice command “Alexa, help my cat relax”, which will prompt the device to play the tracks to help put them at ease.
For those who have a dog in residence, Alexa can offer a helping hand in that scenario too. A new Alexa Routine, Press Paws, will allow your dog to calm themselves by triggering a routine using sound detection such as a bark. Yes, your pooch can help to calm itself by simply barking to enable the routine to play the Classical for Dogs playlist. All you have to do is enable the Press Paws routine on Alexa by clicking on this link and following the on-screen instructions.
Of course, this is only an option for those who already own the best Alexa speakers and, really, if you have a cat or dog – we don't imagine those frequencies will be particularly pleasant to human ears.
For those who don't have Alexa, Anita shares some top tips on how to help your pet stay calm this weekend. Keep scrolling to find learn more, and where you can buy an Alexa-enabled device, if you so choose.
How to keep your pets relaxed on fireworks night
1. Create a relaxing environment
Music can reduce the sudden impact of firework sounds. Simply ask “Alexa, help my cat relax” or “Alexa, help my dog relax” to mask the sounds of fireworks. You can access both features, and much more, through the Alexa app.
2. Keep your energy calm
Our pets look to us for reassurance. As such, it's important to keep our voices and facial expressions calm as we sit quietly with them and voice that there's nothing to worry about, giving them a stroke to also reassure.
3. Close the curtains
This will shut out any sudden flashes, especially if your neighbours are setting off fireworks in their garden. It isn’t just the noise of fireworks that's frightening, but the flashes of light that infiltrate the home.
4. Keep your pets indoors
As we know, fireworks can be let off in private gardens as well as in public spaces on Bonfire night, so it’s safer to keep your pet indoors so they can hide if they need to. In the home they'll feel safe and secure, helping you to relax in the knowledge they're safe, too.
5. Create a hiding place
Ensure your pet has a place they can retreat to, such as a covered basket or a cardboard box in a quiet area – under a bed or in their favourite cupboard, for example. Allow them to remain there for as long as they need, venturing out when they choose; but go to them with a tasty treat and see if they'll eat from your hand. A positive association will help any phobias connected to bangs, whizzes and the bright lights that Bonfire night brings.
6. Comfort your pet using smart devices
You can use the Two-Way Talk feature on your Ring Indoor Cam or Stick Up Cam to check in with your pet, and use your Alexa app to control your smart home – turning on lights, for example. While it isn’t advised that you leave pets alone, these are good options in the event you need to leave the house briefly.
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Jennifer Oksien is TechRadar’s Homes Editor. Jennifer (Jenny) has over a decade of experience as a digital product writer specialising in appliances, smart tech and mattresses for some of the UKs leading retailers and magazine titles such as Real Homes, Ideal Home and Livingetc. Generally, you’ll find her watching the latest Netflix series, digging around in the garden or attempting to make a cake that is edible.