Fireworks

Dos and Don’t for Pets on Bonfire night

Dreading November 5th?  Worried about fireworks and your four-legged friend?    Fear not, there are some tips that can help lessen their fear and keep them calm.

DO

  • Act and behave as normal as your pet will pick up on any odd behaviour.  Remain calm, and cheerful.
  • Walk your dog before dusk, and if your dog goes out into the garden before bedtime, keep him on a lead and make sure he has a collar with identification tag in case he panics and escapes from the garden.
  • If you have a cat, make sure the cat flap is secured to avoid escape.  It’s a good idea to have a collar with identification in case of escape.
  • Shut all doors and windows and draw curtains to block out flashes from fireworks.  It helps to keep a TV or radio on to deaden firework noise.
  • In the run-up to bonfire night, it is a good idea to play the sound of fireworks – YouTube has many examples.  Play it quietly in the background to get your dog or cat used to the sound.
  • Keep the water bowl topped up – anxious dogs pant more and therefore require more water.
  • Make sure there is ‘safe haven’ for your pet to hide if they wish – a crate covered with a blanket, or even behind a chair.  Anywhere that they see as being safe.

DON’T

  • Overact to your pet’s fear.  If it exhibits signs of fear, the best reaction from you is to carry on as normal.  If you physically comfort your pet (especially a dog), you could be reinforcing the behaviour – in other words “it’s OK to be fearful”.  You are better just to act normally and keep your pet near to you.
  • Don’t under any circumstances take your dog to a firework party, tie him up outside to ‘watch’ the fireworks, or try to get your dog to ‘face his fears’ – he will just become more frightened and could take flight.
  • Tell your dog or cat off, it will just make him more distressed.
  • Leave your dog or cat in a separate room – keep him with you.
  • Change your routine if at all possible.  Pets like routine and normality.
  • Regrettably fireworks don’t just happen on bonfire night – so be aware that there may be neighbouring events for a few days either side of November 5th.