By now, you’re probably used to hearing about how fireworks can make your pet feel stressed or frightened. Cats and dogs have very acute hearing, so they can find the loud bangs caused by firework displays distressing and even painful. We stock lots of calming products such as Feliway and Adaptil (plug-in diffusers which mimic the natural stress-relieving hormones produced by your dog or cat) which can certainly help during this time of year, but we also thought it’d be good to share with you some practical advice.
Advice for Dogs and Cats
– If you know there are going to be fireworks in the evening, walk your dog earlier in the day (a tired-out dog will be easier to relax).
– Always keep your dog or cat inside during fireworks, including those nearby (it’s a good idea to keep them in on the 5th, as there might be local displays that you’re not aware of).
– Don’t take your dog to a firework display, as they almost definitely won’t enjoy it. Even if your dog is well behaved enough not to bark, yawning and panting can be signs of stress.
– Make sure your pet has somewhere to hide which makes them feel safe. They might just want to shelter under your bed, or may prefer a special ‘den’ which you can make for them out of household items (such as a crate or cardboard box, lots of blankets, a jumper which smells of you, a bed and their favourite toys, and so on).
– Follow your usual routine during fireworks as this will reassure your pet that everything’s fine.
– Background noises from the TV or radio, if your pet is used to these, can help to block out sounds from fireworks.
Rabbits and Small Furries
– If you have rabbits or guinea pigs who live outdoors, it might be a good idea to bring their hutch inside if there are going to be fireworks nearby.
– If this isn’t possible, it can help to cover the hutch or run with a blanket, and turn it around so that it faces a wall or fence rather than the wider garden. This should help your pet to feel safe.
– Make sure your small animals have extra hay to burrow up into, as this will make them feel more protected.
Bonfires and Garden Critters
– If you’re having a bonfire, always, always, always check it for wild animals such as sleeping hedgehogs before you come to light it!
– The British Hedgehog Preservation Society advises you to never build a bonfire in advance – always on the day that it will be lit, to reduce the risk of creatures hiding inside.
– If you do build your bonfire in advance, you should make sure that you move every single piece to another spot just before lighting to ensure that there isn’t an animal curled up inside. (This shouldn’t be on a pile of leaves or near to any pampas grass as there could be hedgehogs inside!)
Find out more about hedgehog safety on bonfire night