With loud bangs and flashing lights, along with extra sensitive hearing, it’s little wonder most of our four legged friends hate fireworks night and they’re probably not alone! It’s also the time of year that many owners dread, when their normally happy pup suddenly becomes a quivering wreck!

We think fireworks are loud but spare a thought for our dogs and cats. Dogs can hear around twice amount of sound frequencies to humans, and cats over three times, so they are extra sensitive to loud noises like fireworks. As well as the obvious dangers from fireworks and bonfires, some pets get scared and run off so looking after them is essential this time of year.

Here is the Pet365 guide to keeping pets safe during bonfire night.

Small Animals – Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Rabbits, Birds etc.

  • Move hutches and cages to a quiet room indoors. If that’s not possible, move into a garage or shed.
  • If you can’t bring the cage or hutch inside, then turn the enclosure so that it faces a wall instead of the open garden.
  • Get them extra bedding to burrow into so they feel snug and safe.
  • Cover the hutch or cage with a thick blanket to block out the sight of fireworks and muffle the sound of the bangs (don’t forget to make sure it’s properly ventilated though!)
  • Try to distract your pet by hiding treats in their bedding to keep them occupied.

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Dogs and Cats

  • Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off.
  • Walk your dog early in the night, before it gets dark and the fireworks start going off.
  • Close all windows and doors, and block off catflaps to stop pets escaping and to keep noise to a minimum.
  • Put the TV or radio on in order to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.
  • Try to settle your pet before the fireworks start – if your pet is in familiar safe surroundings it will help it cope with the noise.
  • Prepare a den for your pet so they feel safe and comfortable – Use a cardboard box or crate and cover it with blankets, some treats and their favourite toys so they’ve got somewhere that feels snug and safe.
  • Let your pet pace around, whine, miaow and hide in a corner if they want to. Do not try to coax them out – it’s just trying to find safety, and should not be disturbed.
  • Praise them for calm behaviour. It’s OK to cuddle and stroke your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then leave them be!
  • Try to avoid leaving your pet alone. If you do go out, you might come home to a little surprise  but try not to get angry – when some pets get fearful, they often become destructive and may end up going to the toilet.
  • Never take your dog to a fireworks display. Even if they doesn’t bark or whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Excessive panting and yawning can indicate that your dog is stressed.
  • Dogs and cats are more likely to drink more when they’re stressed so make sure their water bowl is accessible and full at all times.

If your pet has really suffered with fireworks in the past, then talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers. These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option. There are also several products in the shops which can help cats and dogs stay calm in times of stress. There’s Feliway for cats. It comes as a spray or diffuser and helps create a soothing atmosphere. You could also try Calmex for your dog, which is a combination of amino acids, plant extract, and B-vitamins. There are lots of products on the market, so always speak to your vet first to find out which is best for your pet.

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