Bonfire night is probably the worst time of year for our pets. All of the fireworks and loud bangs often terrify animals, and so it is an incredibly stressful time for them that can also cause stress to you as their owner if you don’t know how to keep them calm. With bonfire night taking place just next week, it is likely that people will begin celebrations early and therefore be setting off fireworks over the coming weekend. So, it is good to be prepared and ensure that you know what to do to keep your pets safe and calm and look after them during this stressful time.
We wanted to share a few tips on what you can do to comfort your pet this bonfire night and keep them safe and sound.
Keep them indoors
It is very important around bonfire night that you ensure that your animals are kept indoors after dark, when fireworks begin to get set off. This applies to both cats and dogs. If you have a dog, make sure to walk them during daylight rather than when it has gone dark, because the sudden loud bangs from fireworks can amplify fear if your dog is outside as they are more exposed to it and hear the bangs much more loud and clear. Furthermore, by keeping them indoors, you can create your own distractions so that they are not as aware of the fireworks going off outside.
We also strongly advise that cats are kept indoors when it is dark around bonfire night. Similarly to dogs, if a cat is outside when fireworks are going off, this can be much more distressing for them. Not only this, but cats are actually at more risk of harm from fireworks. As we know, cats like to roam free and go wherever they want. Something that doesn’t go well with this, is the fact that anybody can set off fireworks in their own back garden. Therefore, your cat could come into serious danger if it wanders into a garden where people are setting off fireworks.
Try to cover up the noise
Sudden loud bangs tend to startle animals, and it is confusing for them as they don’t know what these noises are. This is where the majority of distress comes from around bonfire night, as there are so many loud bangs from the fireworks that are constantly going off. The best thing you can do as a pet owner to keep this distress to a minimum, is to try and cover up the noise. Start by making sure all windows around the house are shut and curtains are drawn, and perhaps focus on keeping your pets in one room of the house, such as the living room, and that way you can make it more enclosed by shutting doors within the house to distance sound more. Then, you should turn the TV on and switch the volume up so that it is still respectful to your neighbours, but covers up the sound of the fireworks as much as possible.
Allow your pets to find hiding spaces
Animals love to have a safe hiding space when they’re scared – somewhere that gives them security and protection. For example, a lot of dogs like to go inside their cage as it makes them feel safe. You will also find that cats look for small and hidden spots where they can tuck themselves away and feel safe, such as under the bed, or behind the sofa. Around bonfire night, you should try to create little hiding places for your pets, and let them find their own comfort where they feel protected against all the noise and chaos of fireworks.
Comfort them when necessary but allow them their own space
Whilst some pets are a little more needy than others and would prefer to be comforted by their owner, some animals feel safer hiding by themselves. Whichever your pet is more suited to, you should comply with this so that they feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Perhaps your pet wants you close by, or to distract them by playing with their toys. If this is the case, dedicate your time to making them feel more at ease and distracted. On the other hand, if your pet wants to be alone and you feel it is safe to allow this and they are not at any risk, give them the space they need.