Fireworks can be great fun and very exciting for us humans, but for our animal friends they can be very scary... follow our helpful guide to keep your pets safe this fireworks season.
Fireworks can be great fun and very exciting for us humans, but for our animal friends they can be very scary. It is estimated that 45 per cent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, cats and other small animals find them frightening too.
We have put together this handy guide, to help you help your pet cope with the loud bangs this firework season.
Dogs and cats
· Make sure your dog is walked during the day, when it is light - before the fireworks start.
· Ensure all windows and doors are shut before the fireworks start (lots of animals end up in rescue centres, having run away in fear).
· Don’t forget to check that any cat flaps or dog flaps are also locked.
· Draw the curtains around the house and turn on the television or radio, in order to muffle the noise of the fireworks a bit.
· Prepare a hiding place for your pet where they can feel safe and comfortable – perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes, or in an open cupboard – and give them plenty of bedding as they might want to burrow away when the fireworks start.
· Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off.
· Stay calm, act normally and give praise for calm behaviour. Never punish or fuss over your pet when it's scared as this will only make things worse in the long run.
· Try not to leave your pet alone during stressful and scary events like Fireworks Night.
· Make sure that your dog or cat is microchipped, that way, if your pet does manage to run away, they will have a better chance of being reunited with you quickly. From April 2016 it will be law for all dogs to be microchipped, and you will have to ensure that your contact details are up to date.
· Remember, never ever take your dog (or any pet) to a fireworks display!
Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, ferrets and birds are easily scared and they need to be treated with lots of care when fireworks are being let off:
· Hutches, cages and enclosures should, if possible, be brought into a quiet room indoors, or into a garage or shed.
· Whether indoors or outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out.
· Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.
· If you can’t bring your pet’s hutch inside, you could turn its enclosure around so that it faces a wall or fence instead of the open garden.
· Don’t forget birds (including chickens!) – cover any aviaries or hutches with thick blankets (or even a duvet) to block out the sight and sound of fireworks (but ensure there is suitable ventilation).
For more information about keeping your pet safe this fireworks season you can visit the RSPCA main website, where further advice and helpful PDF guides are available. You can also help spread the word amongst your family and friends by sharing the handy infographic available here.
Firework phobia is a treatable condition and animals don’t have to suffer such misery every year. If you are worried about your pet, seek advice from your vet who will, if necessary, be able to refer you to a professional clinical animal behaviourist.