Top tips for keeping pets calm during fireworks

Fireworks can be frightening for pets, but simple measures may help. Picture by Jane Coltman.
Fireworks can be frightening for pets, but simple measures may help. Picture by Jane Coltman.

The dark nights are rolling in and it can only mean one thing, bonfire night is just around the corner.

Fireworks are great for us, but not so great for our furry friends. Many dogs are frightened of the loud bangs and flashing lights. However, there are simple things that owners can do to try to ease anxiety levels.

Take dogs out earlier in the day for their walk so you don’t have to go out when fireworks are more likely to be set off. Close the curtains or shut the blinds, and turn up the radio or TV to help drown out the noise.

You could make a shelter for your pet. Use a pet crate covered with a thick blanket so it’s hidden and gives a feeling of security, then place your pet’s toys and a few treats inside. Creating a den may help your pet feel reassured and comfortable.

Some cuddles and reassurance can go a long way. Although it can be difficult, try not to react to the fireworks and fuss your pets too much as they may sense your apprehension and become more unsettled.

Please keep cats indoors on Guy Fawkes Night, and even the nights leading up to and after it. Again, close curtains and have music playing. Generally, anxious cats will take themselves away, usually hiding under beds.

Plug in-diffusers can calm pets. Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats can be helpful. They release pheromones that humans can’t smell, but cats and dogs can. Ideally, they should be plugged in about two weeks before the start of firework season and placed in the room most likely to be occupied by your pet.

Bring outdoor pets like guinea pigs and rabbits indoors to keep them warm, sheltered and away from the bangs.

If you know fireworks are an issue for your pet, medication can be prescribed to help calm and relieve anxiety in particularly bad cases.