Classic FM visits Battersea Dogs and Cats Home ahead of its first ever programme dedicated to pets, as they schedule to play pet inspired classical music all evening to help reduce stress caused by fireworks.

The music we play on Classic FM is always relaxing, but what we’ve got lined up is even more chilled than usual and a lot of it will be pet-related.

This Saturday, 3 November, is said to be the one of busiest nights for firework displays across the UK. For most owners, firework displays are not something to look forward to: the loud bangs sudden flashes cause pets to become extremely distressed. Hiding, shaking and running away are just some of the fear-induced reactions to fireworks, which are very upsetting for both owner and pet.

Thankfully, Classic FM have teamed up with Battersea and will be playing soothing classical music from 7pm till 9pm, to help owners create a relaxing environment for their furry friends during this scary time.

Burgess Tommy at the Classic FM mini concert at Battersea

Classic FM held a mini concert ahead of the programme at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. The string quartet Classical Pop Ups performed to three dogs looking to be rehomed. Two-year-old Boxer crossbreed Maisie, two-year-old Greyhound Burgess Tommy, and a six-year-old crossbreed Alfie were treated to two pieces of soothing classical music – Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Air on a G String.

Bonnie Brincat, a canine behaviour advisor at Battersea said, “Maisie was hopping around and she seemed to like the music. She was really interested in it and everything that each individual musician was doing. I think Alfie was taken aback initially by the size of the instruments. I’m not sure he’d seen a cello before but after a while, you could see that he grew in confidence and the sound of the music helped him. Burgess Tommy would have liked to have been taught to play some of the instruments and he was keen to know what was going on!”

Alfie was surprised by the music

Steve Craddock, Centre Manager at Battersea, added, “Fireworks can be equally distressing for both dogs and cats, but there are some simple steps that owners can take to keep their pets as happy and stress-free as possible throughout the evening.

“Across all three Battersea centres, our kennel and cattery windows will be blacked out and we’ll play soothing music, to minimise our resident’s stress levels. All of these are things people can do at home too, to help manage their pet’s anxiety levels.”

Maise enjoying music by the string quartet Classical Pop Ups

Classic FM presenter and dog-lover Bill Turnbull will host the special show ‘Pet Sounds’ to ease animal anxiety. The programme will also feature dedications to listeners’ pets and advice from Battersea for pet owners looking to reassure their animals. The full list of top tips is available at www.ClassicFM.com and they include:

Create a ‘safe space’ inside your home

If your pet is scared, they may take comfort in hiding away. If your dog is used to being in a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside, or alternatively a table draped with a blanket can make a great retreat. For cats, if they normally hide in a specific place, make sure they have access and encourage them to use it with treats and toys. A box lined with blankets and with the opening slightly covered is ideal.

Don’t confine your pet to just one room

If your dog or cat becomes stressed, they may hurt themselves trying to get out, so allow them easy access to all safe areas of the house. Some animals may also be most comfortable curled up in their usual spot with you; let them do whatever suits them the best.

Keep the TV or radio on

To reduce the sudden impact of the sound of fireworks, keep the TV or radio on. Playing certain types of music that don’t have a repetitive beat or any sudden loud noises, like classical music or reggae, can be very calming for pets. 

Act normally

Animals are very perceptive creatures, and if they notice you behaving strangely (like following them around and fussing over them) they’ll sense that something is wrong. If you show behave normally, it will show them that the fireworks are nothing to worry about it may help decrease their anxiety.

Keep your curtains closed

It may not just be the sound of fireworks that stress your pet -the flashes can worry them too. It’s important to make sure your curtains are closed and windows are covered to block out any sudden bursts of light.

Classic FM’s radio host and dog-lover Bill Turnbull

Classic FM presenter Bill Turnbull explained, “The programme has been specifically devised for pets who may be upset or nervous on Fireworks Night and may need something to calm them down. This will be their radio refuge. The music we play on Classic FM is always relaxing, but what we’ve got lined up is even more chilled than usual and a lot of it will be pet-related. There is a piece that Elgar named after his cairn terrier called Mina and John Barry has got a lovely lyrical composition called Crazy Dogs.

“I’ve been very happily presenting to humans for the past two-and-a-half years on Classic FM, so hosting this show will be a pleasure and possibly a step up!”

You can tune into Classic FM’s Pet Sounds with Bill Turnbull on Saturday 3 November, 7-9pm.

Images by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

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