Pets and Fireworks
Here are some tips for caring for your pet during firework season:
Small pets dogs/cats general more about dogs top tips for cats keeping Rabbits happy
Animals have very acute hearing. Loud bangs and whistles may cause them actual pain in their ears. But by following these simple guidelines your pet need not suffer.
Small pets and fireworks
Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, ferrets and birds all need to be treated with special care when fireworks are being let off. These animals are easily frightened. We advises that owners of such types of small animal should follow these precautions:
- Hutches/cages and enclosures should, if possible, be brought into a quiet room indoors, or into a garage or shed.
- Give your pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe.
- If you cannot bring your pet’s hutch inside, you should turn its enclosure around so that it faces a wall or fence instead of the open garden.
- Cover any aviaries or hutches with thick blankets or a duvet to block out the sight of the fireworks and deaden the sound of the bangs, but make sure there is enough ventilation.
Dogs, cats and fireworks
- Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off
- Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before the fireworks start
- Close all windows and doors, and block off catflaps to stop pets escaping and to keep noise to a minimum. Draw the curtains, and if the animals are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on (but not too loudly) in order to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.
- Ensure dogs are wearing some form of easily readable identification (ID) – even in the house. They should have at least a collar and tag.
- Think about fitting pets with a microchip, so that if they do run away they have a better chance of being quickly reunited with you
- Prepare a ‘den’ for your pet where it can feel safe and comfortable – perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes. They may like to hide there when the fireworks start.
- Let your pet pace around, whine, miaow and hide in a corner if they want to. Do not try to coax them out – it’s just trying to find safety, and should not be disturbed.
- Stay calm, act normally and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s OK to cuddle and stroke your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.
- Avoid leaving your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events. If you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your pet if you find they have been destructive or toileted after being left on its own. Shouting at a frightened pet will only make them more stressed.
- Don’t tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, ie outside a shop while you pop inside, or leave them in the garden or in your car.
- Never take your dog to a fireworks display. Even if they doesn’t bark or whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Excessive panting and yawning can indicate that your dog is stressed.
More about keeping cats safe
Keeping Dogs safe during fireworks season
It’s difficult to explain to a dog why usually quiet and peaceful night times have become noisy and bright all of a sudden. Pets are often scared of the bangs and flashes, but our firework survival guide will help you and your dog through the season and major events like Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve…
How to keep your dog happy during fireworks
- It’s a good idea to time walks earlier in the day before the fireworks start. Keep your dog on-lead if you think fireworks will be let off.
- Always keep your dog indoors when fireworks are being let off.
- Switching the TV or radio on might help to muffle the sound, but make sure it’s not too loud and don’t try this if your dog isn’t used to noises from the television.
- Close the curtains to black out any flashing lights from outside.
- Dogs are likely to drink more when they are worried, so fill their water bowl up to the brim.
- Speak to your vet about Adaptil products, which contain ‘dog appeasing pheromone’ – these may help promote a feeling of calm for your dog.
- Make sure your dog is microchipped and your information is up to date so your dog can be returned to you if they are spooked by fireworks and run off. By law your dog should be wearing an ID tag with the owner’s name and address displayed when they are in a public place, too. If your phone number is easily readable you will have a better chance of being reunited quickly.
- Don’t tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, ie outside a shop while you pop inside, or leave him in the garden or alone in the car.
- It’s never a good idea to take your dog to a fireworks display, and indoor fireworks aren’t dog-friendly either. Even if they don’t whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Panting and yawning are both signs that indicate your dog is stressed.
- What to do if your dog is stressed by fireworks
- Dogs show they are stressed or anxious in lots of ways, including panting excessively, drooling, shaking, yawning, and putting their tail between their legs.
- Let your worried dog pace around, whine and hide in a corner if he wants to. Once they have found a safe space try not to disturb them.
- Dogs may like to hide in a den where they can feel safe and comfortable when loud noises are all around. This could be under your bed or behind the sofa.
- Placing some of your clothes there might help to keep your pet calm.
- Although it’s difficult when it’s obvious your pet is stressed, try not to let your dog know you are worried as it may make the problem worse. Stay calm, act normally and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s okay to cuddle and stroke your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.
- It goes without saying that you should never shout at your pet. If you have to leave your house during firework season and come home to find your dog has been destructive or toileted, don’t get angry with them. Reprimanding them won’t help and will also make your dog more stressed.
If you know your pet hates loud, high pitched or sudden noises, it’s likely they will struggle to cope with the firework season.
Speak to your vet well in advance as they may be able prescribe calming medication that might help your dog if they really struggle over the period.
It’s worth considering sound therapy, which slowly desensitizes your pet to the zips, whizzes and bangs of fireworks.
Ask your vet or a qualified behaviourist about this, but any training will have to start three to six months in advance of the firework season.
Loud and sudden noises can make cats anxious and stressed, so fireworks season can be a tough time for our feline friends. Our advice should help you and your pet right through from Bonfire Night to New Year’s Eve…
Top tips on caring for your cat or kitten during firework season
- Before fireworks season begins, get your pet microchipped and, if they already are, check your contact details are up to date. This is really important as it gives you the best chance of being reunited with your cat if they become spooked and get lost amid the bangs and crashes.
- Make sure your cat stays inside at night during firework season. Check the dates and times of local displays so you know when to keep your cat in. If your cat is used to going outside, provide a litter tray.
- Block off cat flaps to stop them from getting outside and to help muffle the sound of bangs and zips.
- You can help to block out the noise of fireworks by switching on the TV or radio, if your cat is already used to the sound, but make sure it’s not too loud.
- Closing the curtains or blacking out windows will help to block out the sight of bright flashes.
- Let your cat pace around inside your home and miaow if they want to. If your cat finds a den to hide in, for example under the bed, don’t try to coax them out – your cat is trying to find safety and shouldn’t be disturbed.
- Avoid leaving your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events, especially during the week around Bonfire Night. If you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your cat if you they have toileted after being left on their own. Shouting at a frightened cat will only make it more stressed.
- Although it’s difficult when it’s obvious your cat is stressed, try not to let them know you are worried as it may make the problem worse. Stay calm, act normally and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s OK to cuddle and stroke your cat if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.
Rabbits are easily stressed by bangs, whizzes and other loud noises. Keep your bunny happy on Bonfire Night and beyond with our top tips…
- Give your rabbit lots of extra bedding so they can burrow down in it and get cosy. You could put a cardboard box full of hay, with holes cut in for easy access and exit, in their hutch to give them an extra place to hide.
- Bring your rabbits’ hutch or cage indoors. A quiet room is best, but an unused garage or shed is a good alternative if you can’t bring them into your house.
- If you can’t bring your pets inside, turn their enclosure around so it faces a wall or fence instead of the open garden. This will help to stifle the sound and prevent them from seeing the flashes of light. Cover their hutch with thick blankets or a duvet to block out the sound of the bangs and the sight of the fireworks, but make sure your pet still has enough ventilation.
- If you have a house rabbit or you are able to bring your pet inside, draw the curtains or black out the windows to block out the flashes of light in the night sky.
- Close the windows to muffle the sound from outside. Switching the TV or radio on might help too, but make sure it’s not too loud – especially if your rabbit isn’t used to noises from the television.
- Rabbits are social animals so keep them with the companion they’re familiar with to limit the stress of firework phobia.