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Keeping Your Pets Safe This Bonfire Night: Our Top Tips

Remember Remember the 5th of November…

Firework season can be a very stressful time for pets and owners alike. The loud, sudden noises are incredibly distressing for pets and this is never nice for an owner to see. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to reduce the impact of Bonfire Night on your pet’s wellbeing and keep them as safe and calm as possible.

We may not know what is happening in these uncertain times, even if firework displays are not taking place, your neighbours may still be having fireworks. Better safe than sorry.

How can I tell if my pet is anxious?

All pets react differently in certain situations, but you should not underestimate the stress and anxiety that Bonfire Night can present. If your pet shows any of the symptoms listed below – please take measures to help them through the night and make it less stressful for them).

Dogs 

  • Trembling and/or shaking
  • Excessive barking
  • Hiding
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Refusing to eat
  • Toileting in the house

Cats

  • Hiding behind or on top of furniture
  • Running away
  • Refusing to eat
  • Toileting in the house

Our Top tips to help your dogs and other pets

Dogs

1. Take care while walking your dog

Walk your dog nice and early – ideally before it gets dark. It’s also a good idea to keep dogs on the lead during the run-up to Bonfire Night. They may be scared off by a sudden noise or worse, they may encounter a stray firework or sparkler.

2. Provide Dogs with a safe hideout

Every pet should have a safe place to retreat to and rest in, that’s just for themselves. In most cases, this will be their crate. Simply cover it with a blanket so your pet can hide and feel safe as they do so – they can’t see out and others can’t see in. We used to use a large cardboard box. Always make it easy access for them.

3. Don’t smother your pets

Your instinct might be to protect your pet by holding them close and giving them lots of cuddles. If possible, try to avoid this, if your pet is stressed and confused by the fireworks, it’s best to let them come to you. You don’t want them to feel suffocated or claustrophobic. If your pet is calm and settled whilst fireworks are going off, be sure to praise them.

4. Music may help

Music may help to mask the sound of fireworks. The PDSA has a number of firework-themed pet playlists that can calm your worried pet.

5. Close all windows

Close windows and blackout a play area for your dog, so they can’t see the flashing lights. Fill this area with all of your dog’s favourite toys.

Before fireworks begin, move your dog calmly into that area and sit with them for a short while so that they know it is a safe place to be.

Ignore the fireworks when they start. Instead, play with a toy and see if your dog wants to join in. Be careful not to force them, though, as this could induce extra stress.

Cats

1. Cats love hideouts too!

Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if they need to. Create some cosy spots for them under furniture, in a cardboard box or in a quiet corner.

2. Give them space

If they retreat into one of these safe spaces, don’t try to tempt them out of hiding as this will cause them to become more stressed and they may not trust you after this.

Instead, wait for them to appear and calmly ensure you give them plenty of love and affection. Let them find you.

Small Animals

1. Be thoughtful if they live outside

If your small pet (i.e. rabbits, birds and guinea pigs) live outside, Please be sure to partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area of their home is well sound-proofed.

But be sure to give them some means that allows them to still look out at the world.

2. Make their space cozy

Provide them with lots of extra bedding, so they have something to burrow in if they get frightened.

Take a look at our other blog posts for more tips and advice for caring for your pet, throughout the year!

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