Most of us love fireworks. The sky lights up with a hundred different colours, mulled wine and late night BBQ’s… but then again, some of us absolutely hate fireworks.
For the four-legged extended members of our families, celebratory nights can be a thing loathed and dreaded. Sensitive furry ears are suddenly filled with thunderous loud bangs and hundreds of flashes of dizzying colours coming from all around. No wonder our cats and dogs are upset and run and hide. Fireworks are scary.
It’s important to keep our cats and dogs safe during this confusing and terrifying time. Instinctively they will try and run and hide, and more often than not, cats will strike out in panic if you try to soothe them.
If you have pets in your house, being well prepared for bonfire night, New Year’s Eve and other occasions where there may be fireworks and loud noises (Diwali and Chinese New Year are other examples) is essential. And we’ve complied a list of helpful hints and tips for keeping your pets safe and happy on bonfire night.
- Keep them indoors
If your cats have come indoors for the evening, move something in the way of their cat flap so that they won’t instinctively bolt outside again. Walk your dogs early in the evening/ late afternoon while it’s still light.
- Let them hide
It’s tempting to want to soothe our pets when they are visibly scared, but this can add to the levels of stress and fear that they are already experiencing. Instead, make sure the home is secure and there are no potential hazards, and let them hide if they want to.
- Create a safe space.
If your dog has a cage, cover it with familiar smelling blankets and put some of their favourite toys inside it, and make sure cats can find a safe, enclosed space (under beds and behind sofas are good examples).
If you have a rabbit or guinea pig in a hutch outdoors, move the hutch somewhere sheltered (into the garden shed or garage), and cover half the exposed areas with a blanket for the duration of the evening so they have somewhere protected, but can still see out if they feel trapped.
Hamsters, and other small rodents, and birds as well with indoor cages should be moved away from windows, and where possible, covered with a blanket to block out the noises and flashing lights.
Provide lots of extra bedding for your pet to burrow into as well.
- Secure your home
Close all of the windows, shut the curtains and make sure there are no obvious hazards to your pet. Animals can act very unpredictably when they are frightened, so it is important that your pets favourite hiding space isn’t a cupboard full of glass bowls, or behind the sofa where there is a plug switched on.
- Once it’s all over, treat your pet for being well behaved!
Once the fireworks and bonfires are over and your pet has calmed down, take some time to play with your dog and give your cat a good stroke to remind them that everything is back to normal now.
- Last but not the least…
Enjoy the fireworks yourself! Be assured that you have created the perfect safe haven for your pet in your home, and then retreat to the window or the garden to enjoy the spectacle. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t leave your dogs at home alone when there are fireworks outdoors.