Remember, Remember...

How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Bonfire Night

It’s no surprise that a holiday with the word “Bonfire” in the title brings up some safety concerns.  We could talk about the possible danger of mismanaged bonfires, sparklers or fireworks, but this Guy Fawkes Night we’re asking that you to “Remember, remember” to take extra care of the smallest and most vulnerable members of your family; your pets.

Loud noises, such as the bang of intermittent fireworks, are a common source of anxiety and stress for both pets and farm animals.  For dogs, the urge to run away from the noise (and your home!) goes back to survival instincts. And it’s not just dogs that are affected.  Cats, rabbits, hamsters and birds can all find the sound and sight of fireworks distressing.  It’s important to prepare in advance to make sure your pet is as calm and comfortable as possible during a fireworks display.

Here are our top tips for a pet-friendly bonfire night:

  • Take your dog for a walk well before the fireworks are due to be set off. Keep your dog on a leash at all times as unscheduled fireworks may result in your dog bolting off.
  • Giving your pet a stodgy, high carbohydrate meal before the fireworks are set off as this will make your pet feel sleepy and encourage them to rest.
  • Keep your dog or cat indoors with windows and doors securely closed when fireworks are being set off. Make sure you leave internal doors open so your pet does no feel trapped.
  • If possible, bring smaller pets such as budgies, rabbits and hamsters inside too. If this is not feasible, partially cover their cage or hutch with a blanket for sound proofing.
  • Likewise, you can help dampen the noise of the fireworks by soundproofing your own home. Ensure your windows are closed and the curtains are drawn well before the fireworks begin. Turning on the TV or radio can also help drown out the sound of the fireworks.
  • Prepare a small den or hiding place for you animal where they can escape to should they become anxious. A “safe place” might be under the bed or in a cupboard. If there is a place that your pet often retreats to when stressed, leave some blankets there for your pet to nuzzle into. Never try to coax your pet from their safe place as this might lead to aggression.
  • Ensure your pet is wearing an ID tag as this will improve the chances of your pet being returned should they run away during the fireworks.
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