FIREWORKS & PETSDiscussing how to keep pets happy and calm around fireworks
Although we humans take great enjoyment from fireworks, our furry friends might not be so keen. In actuality, it can be a frightening and stressful time of year for your pets. Follow our tips to ensure that they are kept safe, secure, and stress-free.
Top tips for dogs & cats
First things first – before evening dawns and the fireworks start, it’s a good idea to take your dog for a walk. The same applies for their evening meal. This way, you can focus on keeping them calm rather than on their usual nighttime activities.
When the fireworks begin, it’s wise to keep your pets inside. Let them whine and hide if they want to – comforting or cuddling distressed pets excessively just reinforces the idea there is something to be anxious about. It’s best to act as you normally would, stay relaxed, and reward calm behaviour.
Another great idea is to prepare a ‘safe room’ for your pet where they feel comfortable. Fill it with their bed and some toys to play with, pull the curtains to block out the fireworks, and have the TV or some music on to distract them. Try to avoid leaving your pet alone when they are stressed and nervous. If you do need to leave, make sure they’re in the ‘safe room’ with plenty to distract them. Do not punish or shout as this will only make their stress worse.
If you’re having a Bonfire night party, make sure to keep chocolates and sweets out of the reach of your pets (find out why in our Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs blog post). Keep them away from the front door if you are expecting guests in case they get scared and run outside. In case they do get loose, make sure your dog or cat is wearing some form of identification. A microchip is great (and now a legal requirement for all dogs over 8 weeks of age) – remember to make sure your details are up to date. A collar and a tag will do as a minimum.
Consider using remedies that can help relieve their anxiety. If you’re unsure which calming method is the right one for your pet, talk to your vet for more advice.
Don’t forget your small pets
Bring your small furry’s cage or hutch indoors. If this isn’t an option, make sure that it’s partially covered and fill it with lots of bedding – this will provide them with a dark, soundproof area that they can hide and burrow in. But remember, they still need a little ventilation! Avoid letting off fireworks near their cage/runs.
Before lighting your bonfire, check it thoroughly for any wildlife, such as hedgehogs. Your pets may be naturally curious if they see a bonfire being constructed in their garden, but aware of the potential hazards. Keep dogs and cats indoors when the bonfire is lit to avoid the risks of burns and even smoke inhalation. Make sure you extinguish your bonfire properly and that it has cooled down before you leave it unattended or allow your pets to go near it; remember the parts in the middle may remain hot for some time after the edges have cooled.