Charlotte Hawkins on keeping pets calm this fireworks season
A guest blog by Classic FM presenter Charlotte Hawkins.
One of my favourite times of the year is almost here - but it's not for the reasons you may think. Fireworks season, which can be stressful and upsetting for many animals, is the time I head to Classic FM to host two special programmes to help keep the nation's pets (and their owners) calm and relaxed, while the bangs and whooshes go on outside.
Pet Classics was originally hosted by my good friend and much-missed colleague Bill Turnbull. It was launched five years ago, and since then has become a radio sanctuary for our pets around Bonfire Night. I had the privilege of hosting the show for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. I can't wait to settle down with you and your pets again on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th of November, 5pm to 9pm, on Classic FM.
We're thrilled to be teaming up with our friends at the RSPCA again to bring their insight on keeping animals calm, helping us to create the perfect programmes to make it a relaxing night for our four or two-legged friends.
Playing relaxing music helps calm an anxious animal
We've chosen a beautiful selection of soothing classical music to help calm any anxious pets, handpicked by the team at Classic FM. In fact, the RSPCA recently conducted a survey which revealed that playing relaxing music was the most common way to help calm an animal during fireworks season.
There are lots of animal connections to our music selection, such as Clair de lune by Claude Debussy, who owned several cats and would let them wander across the piano while he was working. We also have music from dog-lover Richard Wagner, who would change his compositions based on the reaction of his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
But the question is, what do our pets think of it? Well, I'd be a bit worried if my regular listeners started falling asleep while listening to my Sunday show on Classic FM, but with Pet Classics, I positively encourage it! Every year, we receive thousands of messages and photos of pets and animals relaxing to the show. These have included dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, horses, tortoises, parrots, hedgehogs, a goldfish and even an iguana!
I remember a heart-warming story about Kauto, a golden retriever, who went from shivering under the kitchen table due to the bangs outside to being blissfully asleep under a blanket next to his owner, listening to Classic FM. Pet Classics has become such a wonderful family of animal-loving listeners, so I'm looking forward to seeing who'll be in touch this year!
In addition to the music and messages, I'll also be providing practical tips and advice from the RSPCA about how you can further support your pet, including creating a safe haven with extra bedding, blankets and a favourite toy.
So, whether your friends are the furry, feathered or scaly variety, everyone is welcome. Pet Classics is the perfect oasis of calm for them this Fireworks Night, so I hope you can all join me!
Tune in this fireworks weekend
Charlotte Hawkins hosts Pet Classics, in partnership with the RSPCA, on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th November from 5pm to 9pm on Classic FM - available on 100-102 FM, on Global Player, DAB digital radio and TV, and ClassicFM.com.
Before the cheer consider their fear
Make fireworks less frightening for animals by taking action today and emailing your MP.