How to keep pets safe during fireworks: Top tips from Priory Veterinary Practice in Stamford, Lincolnshire
Bonfire Night and fireworks may be great for most of us but for many pets, it can be a dangerous or stressful time for them.
That explosive mixture of sights and sounds can cause playful animals to behave erratically so don’t be alarmed if your pet is acting differently.
“Loud bangs and whistles may cause pets actual pain in their ears, not to mention being extremely frightening for them because cats and dogs have very acute hearing,” said Vicky Lees who owns Priory Veterinary Practice in Stamford.
“It is so important to keep pets as stress-free as possible.
“Not preparing for what could be a potentially distressing time for them could see them acting defensive or aggressive. Some even run away which is why it might be an idea to even ensure they are wearing some sort of identification.”
There are many different signs to look out for when it comes to pets during that festive period.
With regards to dogs, be especially wary of abnormal or irrational growling or barking or unusual patterns like flattened ears, tucked tails between their legs, cowering, lip licking and hair raised on the back of their necks.
For both cats and dogs, you can observe out of character behaviour such as licking and chewing, destructiveness, diarrhoea, aggression and a change in eating habits.
Pet owners can also keep doors and windows shut, close dog and cat flaps as well as draw the curtains to minimise noises and flashes of light.
“Taking your dog out for a long, early walk before all the loud noises begin is a good way to ensure that they are more calm and less energetic come the evening,” continued Vicky.
“Giving them a cuddle to calm them down when the loud bangs begin can also help soothe their anxieties while it’s also an idea not to make a big deal of it. The less excited you are, the more likely your dog will follow suit.
“If you have any concerns or queries, then it is a good idea to contact your local vet.”
In addition to potential dangers to pets, other wildfire can also suffer from the deafening bangs, thick smoke and sparklers. Hedgehogs are known to find homes in bonfires which have been prepared in anticipation of events.
Precautionary measures can also be taken for outdoor pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, ferrets and birds as they are also easily startled or frightened.
Owners of these group of animals can either bring the cage inside into a quiet room, a shed or garage, or partly cover the cage with blankets to muffle loud noises.
Add extra bedding to the cage so the animals have something to burrow into is also a good way to make them feel safer.
An independent and family-owned business, Priory Veterinary Practice offer Health Care for Life and Flexible Health plans that are designed to ensure that all pets get the veterinary care that they need.
For more information, visit Priory Veterinary Practice’s official website by clicking here.
Here are some simple dos and don’ts that can help minimise any stress for your pet.
Do create a den or some kind of enclosure - with blankets and cushions to shut out the noise - where your dog can go to feel safer. This enclosure can be created in the weeks or days leading up to fireworks or bonfire night. For cats, make sure there is somewhere they can hide if they want to (i.e. behind furniture or in a cupboard)
Do walk your dog during the day and keep your pet indoors in the evening.
Do pick up any firework and bonfire debris and treats such a toffee apples and treacle toffee.
Do feed your pet before the fireworks start, as if they become unsettled they may be reluctant to eat.
Do keep doors and windows shut and close dog and cat flaps.
Do draw the curtains to minimise noises and flashes of light.
Do play soothing sounds or have the TV or radio on as white noise to distract your pet.
Do try to behave as normally as possible.
Do be sensitive to your pet’s needs.
Do consider leaving a shed door open to give sanctuary to stray cats that may be scared by the fireworks.
Do provide them with a new toy, chew or blanket can prove a welcome distraction and comforter.
Don’t take your pet to a fireworks show.
Don’t leave your pet home alone
Don’t be upset with your pet if you return home to find they have ruined something or soiled the floor.
Don’t have your pet outdoors when fireworks are being let off.
Don’t pick up cats or restrain them when they are scared. Unlike dogs, they prefer to be in control of how they cope in a situation where they feel threatened.