How to keep your pet calm and safe during fireworks
Make sure your pet stays happy and safe during fireworks with these tips from the RSPCA
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Today fireworks are not just for Halloween and Bonfire Night, and can be seen and heard all year round at other celebrations. And while we love to see firework displays, the loud bangs and flashing lights can significantly upset our cats, dogs and other pets. The RSPCA have these tips for ensuring your pet stays as calm and happy as possible during fireworks.
How to keep your pet safe during fireworks
- Provide your dog or cat with a safe haven. Create a doggy den in a quiet area of the house and make it a special safe place by placing tasty treats and favourite toys inside. Make sure your cats always have access to plenty of places around the house to hide. Cats love hidey-holes so if you haven't got anything suitable ask your local pub for empty crisp boxes or something similar, and put it in a safe quiet place with your pet's bedding inside.
- Pheromone diffusers - Speak to your vet about using a calming collar or diffuser which disperses calming pheromones which may help your dog or cat feel more secure.
- Introduce changes to your pet’s routine slowly. Start to introduce the change of routine now to get them used to being in. We recommend walking dogs during daylight during fireworks season so if this is different to your normal routine, begin to alter the time of your pet’s walk to get them gradually used to it. Likewise if you plan to keep your cat inside get them used to coming inside during the evening a few weeks before. Don't let them out or take them for a walk when fireworks are about to start. It may look all quiet but the fireworks could start early and you may have trouble controlling your dog if he panics, even on a lead. And a cat could disappear in panic, injure itself or get lost.
- Provide extra bedding. Rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals who live outside should have extra bedding to burrow into or you can cover their housing with a blanket for extra sound-proofing. Begin to introduce this now.
- Bringing pets inside. If you’re planning to bring them indoors to better protect them then start to make this change ahead of fireworks night to get them used to the new sights, smells and sounds inside.
- Speak to neighbours. If you want to plan for dates of local displays then check local press and websites and speak to your neighbours and local councils/schools etc to find out dates ahead of time so you can plan now to help your pet. Also ask them to let you know if they plan to have fireworks at other times of the year as well.
- Soundproof your house. Simple steps like closing windows and curtains can help your house seem safer to your pet so begin doing this now if it’s different to normal to get your pet used to it. Here are some more soundproofing tips.
- Start desensitising them to sounds. Teach your pet to deal with the sounds by using training CDs. We recommend Sounds Scary which comes with guidance on how to use it. You can also muffle the sound of fireworks for dogs and other pets by using calming music like classical playlists - start to introduce this now. This is a long-term approach, so start as soon as possible.
- Get help. If your pet has a severe fireworks fear then speak to your vet or clinical animal behaviourist now to come up with a plan or to discuss whether there are any treatment options to help them.