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Pet Safety Tips for Bonfire Night
Thanks to Guy Fawkes’ failed plot us humans get to enjoy a night of fireworks once a year, but the loud noises and bright lights of bonfire night can be distressing for our pets. Wherever you live, it’s likely bonfires and fireworks will be set off in your area at this time of year, so it’s important to think about your furry friends and how you can make them feel comfortable and calm.
How to keep your pets comfy and calm on Bonfire Night
- Try to feed them during the day before any displays start. Some pets won’t eat if they feel anxious.
- Feeding your pets a bit more than usual might help them settle. Just like us, a stodgy meal can make them feel sleepy and relaxed.
- Stay with your pet so they feel safe. If you can’t be at home with them, ask someone to pet-sit for you.
- Kittens and puppies can be extra sensitive to loud noises (they’ve only got tiny ears and they’re still discovering new sounds).
- Draw the curtains so they aren’t startled by big flashes. Our thermal curtains are great for this, as they block light and reduce noise.
- Before the fireworks start, put the TV or music on (at normal volume) to disguise external noise.
- Give them a new toy to distract them.
- Create a cosy nest for them from their bed and/or blankets so they have somewhere comforting to go. This could be their normal bed, or could be a new spot under a table with blankets for comfort so they feel more secure.
- Try to act normal. If you act stressed they’ll think there’s something to worry about, and trying too hard to soothe them can reinforce their concerns that there’s something wrong. Distracting them is the best way to deal with a panicked pet.
- Keep them inside, with external doors and windows locked but internal doors open so they can move around and find refuge freely.
- Make sure your pets can be identified and returned to you, just in case they do get out, run off and get lost.
Bonfire night tips for dogs
- Walk your dog in the daylight before the fireworks start, so they don’t have to be out amongst the chaos. You can also try extending their walk a little so they’re more tired out for the evening.
- Keep them inside once the fireworks start, lock the dog flap if you have one, and make sure the gate is closed in case they get out. If they need to go to the toilet during the noisy period, go into the garden with them so they feel reassured.
- Keep your internal doors open so they can move around freely, and don’t feel trapped.
- If your dog is behaving anxiously or destructively, don’t get annoyed and shout at them – this will upset them even more.
Bonfire night tips for cats
- Keep them indoors with any windows, doors and cat flaps closed. If they get scared they might try to escape, and if they end up outside they might run further than they’re familiar boundaries.
- If your cat isn’t used to being kept indoors, provide litter trays for them and place them in a couple of places.
- Have lots of toys (new ones or old favourites) on hand to distract them.
- If they decide to hide, let them stay where they are. Don’t coax them out if they’re trying to escape what they perceive as a scary environment.
Bonfire night tips for smaller animals
- Make sure they have extra bedding to burrow into and muffle the noise.
- Use a rug or blanket to partially cover their cage, which will muffle noises and help to keep them calm.
- If they live outside, try and find a quieter spot for them to be for the night, whether it’s inside your home or in a shed or garage.
- If moving them inside isn’t possible, turn their cage towards a wall to minimise the effect of the festivities.
And don’t forget to check for any unexpected visitors
If you’re hosting a bonfire party, always check your firewood stack for any animals that might have sneaked in looking for shelter, or fallen in accidentally.