It comes around every year and Bonfire Night may mean fun and fireworks, but it can also be a source of worry for pet owners. With bonfires and firework displays increasingly spread out before the night itself and for several nights afterwards, it can now mean almost a week of trying to keep our pets calm and happy. Fireworks can be a source of fear for many animals due to the sudden, loud noises, so here are some tips to help minimise the stress for your furry friend:
- Keep your dog or cat inside when you hear fireworks nearby being let off, and whenever possible stay at home with them at night so as to not leave them alone and scared.
- Take your dog for a nice, long walk in the late afternoon before dusk, to help tire them out so they find it easier to relax later, and also avoid any early fireworks displays.
- Keep the TV, radio or music player on to help mask the outside noise. Closing all windows and curtains can also help to hide the sound of the fireworks.
- Having lots of lights on in the house can help to mask flashes of lights from fireworks outside.
- Be careful not to fuss too much over your pet if they show signs of fear because this may confirm to them that something is wrong. Act like everything is normal, and if they rush off to a safe place, let them and calmly follow at a distance to provide some company.
- Moving their toys and favourite items to somewhere you think is a safe and good hiding place a few weeks before Bonfire Night will help them to associate it as such, and give them a sanctuary to go to if they do get scared. Fill it with cushions and blankets for comfort, and for cats a high place is ideal.
- Try to distract your pet with treats or toys to keep them occupied; play with them to help reassure them that it’s just a normal day and ensure they’re focusing on something else.
- If your pet reacts especially badly, it can be useful to contact your local council to find out the dates of any organised displays to allow you to take the necessary precautions and make arrangements.
- If you are having your own bonfire party make sure you inform your neighbours of the date and timings of your party so that they will afford you the same opportunity to take measures to protect your pet from any nearby events.