Classic FM and RSPCA join forces to help pets during fireworks season
Charlotte Hawkins talks for the RSPCA ahead of the airing of two episodes of Classic FM’s Pet Classics.
This weekend is one of my favourites of the year with the arrival of fireworks season. But instead of watching the lights and flashes and listening to the bangs and whizzes, I will be cosy in the Classic FM studio presenting Classic FM’s Pet Classics on Saturday and Sunday from 5pm. This is the programme we have created, with wonderful support from the RSPCA, to help keep anxious pets (and their owners) calm and relaxed during fireworks season.
From personal experience with our wonderful family dog Bailey, who is sadly no longer with us, she did not like fireworks, and all types of animals often find them stressful and upsetting. A 2022 impact survey by the RSPCA found that 76% of respondents reported dogs experiencing distress because of fireworks. Previously, the RSPCA has also revealed that playing relaxing music is the most common way pet owners help calm or prepare their animals for Bonfire Night. So here at Classic FM, we devised Pet Classics to provide a radio sanctuary of soothing music to help pets during what can be a challenging time for them.
We are thrilled to team up with the RSPCA once again, as they bring their expertise and advice on how to keep animals calm during fireworks season, helping us all create the perfect oasis for our pets.
This is the sixth year of Pet Classics and I am thrilled to be hosting the two programmes once again, following in the footsteps of the legendary Bill Turnbull who originally presented the show. Bill was a massive animal lover and dog owner, and he knew the difference that Pet Classics makes each year to thousands of our listeners and their animals, so I am honoured to be back behind the mic with you.
On Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November from 5pm, I would love you and your pets to join me for this year’s Pet Classics. I will be playing a carefully curated selection of the most soothing classical music, specially chosen to calm any nervous pet or anxious owner. As well as the relaxing pieces, I will also play music that has been inspired or written about animals. Some of my favourites include Mina, by composer Edward Elgar, which he wrote about his much-loved Cairn Terrier, and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, inspired by his love of nature and birdsong which he enjoyed on country walks. And there’s Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.17. Mozart owned a pet starling, whose song is featured in the concerto.
All this week on Classic FM, in the lead up to Bonfire Night, we are sharing some important tips and advice from the RSPCA on how to get your pets ready for fireworks season. They include preparing a designated safe room for small animals, ensuring that they have plenty of bedding to hide in; giving your pets plenty of exercise during the day to naturally tire them out, as this can help with their anxiety, and also making sure that all windows and curtains are closed in the evening to reduce the sound and lights from the fireworks. There are more tips and advice on the Classic FM website.
Every year with Pet Classics, I love seeing all the pictures and videos from listeners, showing their pets listening to Classic FM. I remember seeing one dog that previously would be shaking with fear due to the noise of the fireworks, but now, listening to Classic FM, they were relaxed and falling asleep. It’s the one time I positively encourage my listeners to fall asleep when they listen to my show! I will also be reading lots of dedications from listeners to their pets, so please get in touch with yours, by texting me on 61812 or emailing me via the Classic FM website.
I look forward to you and your pets joining me this weekend in my radio sanctuary – and all pets are welcome, whether they’re furry, feathered or scaly!
Classic FM’s Pet Classics is broadcast on Saturday 4 November from 5pm to 9pm, with a second programme on Sunday 5 November – Bonfire Night – from 5pm to 9pm, available across the UK on Global Player, 100-102 FM, DAB digital radio and TV, and at ClassicFM.com.