Fireworks and your pets

As fireworks night approaches many  pet owners begin to dread the effect all the noise has on their pets. Also, it seems as though every year the fireworks season begins earlier and earlier.

In the midst of all the fun and frolics, care must be taken to ensure our furry friends are safe and sound.

Many pets will continue to be scared by any firework. They have sensitive hearing and in the same way that they get scared of thunder, fireworks can make them physically sick. So what can we do to help them?

Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off. Close all the windows and doors, and block off cat-flaps to keep noise to a minimum and to stop pets escaping. It’s also a good idea to draw the curtains, and if the animals are used to the particular sounds of TV or radio, switch them on (but not too loudly) in order to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.

Always make sure your pet is wearing some form of easily readable identification (ID) so that if they do run away they have a better chance of being returned to you.

But, remember

Never take your dog to a firework display. Even if your dog does not bark or whimper at fireworks it doesn’t mean he’s happy. Excessive panting and yawning can sometimes indicate that your dog is stressed.

Never tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, i.e. outside a shop whilst you pop inside, or leave them in the garden or in your car.

Never walk your dog while fireworks are going off. Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before the fireworks start.

Never shout at your pet if it is frightened, as you will only make it more stressed.

You can help your pet by:

Preparing a ‘den’ for your pet so it can feel comfortable, perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes where it can hide when the fireworks start
Leaving it alone if it paces around, whines or meows, and if it tries to hide in a corner don’t try to coax it out, it is just trying to find safety and should not be disturbed
Trying not to leave your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events
Staying calm and acting normally. Praise your pet when it is calm
Not shouting or getting angry if you leave your pet alone and come back to find that it has been destructive
Small animals – Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, ferrets and birds all need to be treated with special care when fireworks are being let off. These animals are easily frightened. Owners of such types of small animal should follow these precautions:-

Hutches/cages and enclosures should, if possible, be brought into a quiet room indoors, or into a garage or shed
Give your pet extra bedding to burrow into so it can feel safe
If you cannot bring your pet’s hutch inside, you should turn its enclosure around so that it faces a wall or fence instead of the open garden
Cover any aviaries or hutches with thick blankets or a duvet to block out the sight of the fireworks and deaden the sound of the bangs, but make sure there is enough ventilation


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