Continuing on with my series of festive pet blogs, I have found myself worrying about the approaching night of the 5th of November, better known as Guy Fawkes, bonfire or fireworks night. Whilst it is a fun evening for humans, it can be a very distressing and confusing night for our pets with loud bangs and sudden bright lights continuing on throughout the night.
Cats and dogs can be terrified by fireworks and bangers, especially as some of them may have very sensitive hearing. Whilst a sudden loud noise may scare a human, in general it will not cause us a great deal of stress. However, with cats and dogs, it can cause an awful lot of stress and even undo any good work that has been done with an anxious or submissive dog. This stress can be displayed in many forms such as trembling, shaking, not eating and hiding behind/under furniture for long periods of time.
Vigilance is key around this time of year and it is best to be prepared for fireworks night itself so that our pets are affected as little as possible. Cats that normally go outside during the night should be kept indoors and it can be a good idea for dogs to be taken for an extra-long walk in the daytime and then fed well; a happy and tired dog will be more relaxed and easier to settle. It is also essential that a cat or dog is microchipped so that if they become spooked during the night and escape, then it will be easier to be reunited with them.
During the night’s festivities it can be easier for the pet if you stay with them. Try and get them settled in a place in the house where they feel safe and secure. Each pet is individual but you will know what they like and what makes them feel comfortable. Keep the curtains closed and if possible, try to drown out the noise of the fireworks with a more comfortable sound, such as the television or radio; all the time talking to your pet and reassuring them. If your pet runs and hides under or behind furniture, then let them stay there as it will make them feel safe and secure.
However, it is important to remember that it is not just family pets that are at risk of being effected. This time of year is very hard for stray animals with nowhere warm to stay who are living off of scraps of food. Their lives are made even more difficult on fireworks night when unfortunately they can become victims of firework-related injuries or simply be scared out of their wits by the relentless bangs, without a place to take refuge. Animal welfare charities are inundated with stray cats and dogs from around this time through to the New Year. If you would like to help animals (more specifically strays) through the stressful festive period, then simply volunteering for your local charity can be a great way to do so.
It can also help to educate and create awareness about the dangers of fireworks for animals as not everyone will give thought to the dangers they pose to pets specifically. One such way is to introduce a law that will require all manufacturers of fireworks to include pet safety information on their products.
Fireworks night can be one of the most stressful nights of the year for our pets but we can see them through it by being calming, attentive and prepared owners. How does your pet react on bonfire night? Is there any special technique you use to calm them down or reassure them? Let us know your real-life methods in the comments box below.
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