Bonfire night is this weekend and for most of us, it’s rather exciting, as it signifies the time of year for plenty of festivities. However, for some pet owners, it can be an awful time of year, as some pets are terrified of the noise the fireworks bring and this can cause a lot of emotional stress for the pet and the pet owner.
Dogs and cats tend to get frightened the most as the flashes the fireworks bring can cause them to become very distressed and if they’re left outside they can run away and get lost. It’s best not to take your animals outside during a firework display as they can become hurt or seriously injured if a firework hits them.
So why is bonfire night so frightening for pets?
Majority of dog breeds and cat breeds are scared of the loud noise. The loud sounds fireworks bring can trigger their nervous system and they become anxious and afraid. They will often run away or hide somewhere in the home, as this is their instincts for survival.
The trigger response is different from fireworks then it is to thunder as fireworks are closer to the ground and more vibrant. Fireworks bring lots of flashes and loud noises and burning smells. As most pets experience the world through their senses, like ears, ears and nose; a night like a bonfire night can be rather overwhelming for them.
Pets have no idea what the loud bangs are or where they’re coming from. The colourful flashes can make your pet become every distressed and disorientated out of their normal routine.
Animal hearing is very sensitive and the loud bangs can sometimes cause actual pain in their eardrums.
There are many signs your pet will display which will indicate their suffering with stress from the noise. The signs largely depend on the type of animal you own. Listed below are some signs to watch out for
- Clinging to their owners
- Going to the toilet in the house
- Panting and pacing the room
- Shaking and trembling
- Trying to run away
- Lots of barking
- Not eating
- Refusing to eat
- Trying to run away from you
- Hiding behind furniture and cowering
- Going to the toilet in the house
- Acting motionless
- Trying to escape
- Stamping their hind feet
Listed below are some helpful tips on how to keep your pets safe and happy during bonfire night
Dogs and cats
- Give your dog a long walk during the day to tire them out so they will not need a walk in the evening
- Try not to leave your dogs and cats alone during bonfire night
- Lock all windows and cat flaps
- If you do need to leave the house, make sure your dog isn’t tied up in the garden
- Put the TV or the radio on to distract your dog or cat from the noise
- Make a den so your pet can snuggle up and hide from the noise
- If your pet makes a mess whilst you’re out, do not tell them off
- Remain calm and relaxed during the fireworks as your pet can sense emotional distress
- Never take your dog to a firework display, even if they are on a lead
- Cover the hutches with a breathable blanket. This will muffle out some of the noise
- If possible, bring the hutches indoors
- If you can’t bring the hutch indoors, then you can try turning it around so it faces a wall, rather than the garden where they can potentially see the flashing lights
- Provide extra straw or hay for them to burrow in and feel more secure
Looking after a larger animal during bonfire night can be tricky when there are fireworks going off nearby. Staying calm and following the points below will help keep your pet safe and happy.
- If you have an animal that suffers from anxious behaviour then it’s worthwhile speaking to your vet to see if there is another place where your animal for the evening
- Fireworks shouldn’t be set of close to where your animal is staying. If you have neighbours, kindly ask them to avoid setting off close by
Regardless of what animal you own or care for. You should always be prepared for eventualities such as bonfire night. As a responsible owner, there are many precautions you should take to ensure your pet's safety and wellbeing is cared for. It’s always worth speaking to your vet for professional advice.