How to keep pets safe on Bonfire Night
First published 30 October 2018 | Last updated 18 September 2020
Bonfire night can be exciting for us, but the loud bangs and bright flashes can be a complete nightmare for our pets! If you have a particularly anxious pet, you may feel helpless watching them become unsettled and scared, but there are things you can do to minimise the stress caused to your pet by fireworks.
Why is Bonfire Night frightening for pets?
Your pet doesn't know what Bonfire Night is or why there are loud bangs and colourful flashes in the sky. They may find the noises and the lights overwhelming and distressing. In fact, according to animal charity The Blue Cross, the loud bangs associated with fireworks can even physically hurt your pet?s ears due to their extremely sensitive hearing.
Signs of stress in pets
If your pet is showing the following symptoms, they might be finding firework season particularly stressful.
- Trembling and shaking.
- Acting unusually clingy.
- Barking excessively.
- Cowering or hiding behind furniture.
- Trying to run away.
- Going to the toilet in the house.
- Pacing around the room.
- Excessive panting.
- Refusal to eat.
- Destructive behaviour, such as chewing furniture.
- Cowering and hiding behind or on top of furniture.
- Trying to run away.
- Going to the toilet in the house, instead of outside or in their litter box.
- Refusal to eat.
How to look after dogs on Bonfire Night
On the 5th November (and on the run up to Guy Fawkes night) your dog may need some extra love and care to help them feel safe and secure in their home.
It is estimated that almost half of dogs show signs of anxiety when they hear fireworks. So, if your dog is one of them, the following tips could help relieve their stress:
- Don't take your dog to a firework display. Even if your dog does not look visibly frightened it does not mean they are happy. Excessive panting or yawning can be indicators that your dog is stressed.
- If you know your dog is particularly anxious, try not to leave them alone. Missing a firework display isn't the end of the world, especially if your pooch needs you at home.
- Consider blackout blinds or curtains that can muffle the sound while blocking out the flashing lights and close your windows to minimise the sound as much as possible.
- If your dog is used to the sound of the TV, switch it on to help distract your pet from the noisy fireworks.
- Walk your dog during the daytime before the Bonfire Night celebrations begin and try to tire them out so they're relaxed come the evening.
- Try to act normally around your pet. Dogs are more in-tune with our emotions than we think and may be able to sense when we are nervous, worsening their own feelings of anxiety.
- Create some hiding spaces where your dog can snuggle up with their favourite toys or blankets.
- Your dog may bark excessively when nervous. If so, don't scold them. Instead praise and encourage calm behaviour with a treat or a toy.
How to look after cats on Bonfire Night
Guy Fawkes Night may not be much fun for our feline friends. In fact, a cat's hearing is three times as sensitive as a human's , so it's no surprise that loud fireworks can make this time of year particularly stressful for our moggies.
To help keep your kitty calm on the night, you may find some of the following tips helpful:
- Secure any cat flaps and make sure your cat is safely indoors.
- Ensure your cat is microchipped and their details are up to date, so they can be returned home should they get spooked and go missing.
- Create hiding spaces with your cat's favourite toys - a cardboard box can provide the ideal hideaway for your cat.
- Use treats and toys to keep your cat amused and distracted.
- Anxiety in cats can cause them to fail to use their litter tray. Try not to get cross at your cat if they have an accident around the house, as this could worsen the situation.
- A plug-in pheromone diffuser may help some cats to feel secure. These can be purchased for both cats and dogs from your vet or your local pet store.
- Stroke your cat if they are willing - but if they want to hide don't disturb them or try to coax them from their hiding space.
It can be distressing for you as a pet owner to see your beloved pet upset but try to keep yourself calm and positive. Pets can sense their owner's emotions, so their anxieties can be worsened if they pick up on your worries.
If you've tried all these tips to keep your pet calm but nothing seems to be working, you may need to see a vet for some advice or anxiety medication.
While we can't protect your pet from the stresses of Bonfire Night, we can help you to find a pet insurance policy to cover your furry friend for accidents and illnesses. Compare pet insurance quotes from Compare Cover quickly and easily for peace of mind all year round.