Looking after your pets during fireworks season
Prepare the house
Your home becomes your pets’ safety zone, so it’s important to prepare it properly.
Keep some lights on. Keeping a light on will calm your pet and make them feel more secure, rather than being scared in a dark room.
- Dampen the noise. Close the curtains in the room. This will also help to stop the flashes of light affecting your pet.
- Plan to use familiar sounds to drown out the noise of the fireworks. Music from a stereo or turning on the TV are likely familiar sounds that can soothe your pet.
- In the run up to firework season, try playing a sound CD with firework noises or firework sound videos on YouTube at a low level to let your dog get used to the sound in the background.
- Pheromone diffusers, collars or spray can help with mild cases. The diffuser is plugged in to a socket near where your pet spends most of his time. It releases a synthetic version of calming pheromones to help reassure them. Ideally they should be plugged in 1-2 weeks before.
- Take your dog for his usual walk before the fireworks are usually set off and ensure that he is kept on a lead at all times, especially if you are in any doubt about whether the noise of a firework may cause him to bolt. Feed him as normal as this may help to settle him down for the evening.
Prepare the room
Select a suitable room where you will contain the pets for the duration of the fireworks. An inner room that is least impacted by the noise is ideal. It should be a room that you can close off to prevent your pet from running about the house and injuring itself.
Make the room cosy. Put down familiar, clean bedding somewhere pleasant such as under a table, on or behind a chair, etc. Add some familiar chew toys, to keep your pets amused and distracted.
- Ensure that the room temperature is pleasant.
- Consider whether sound might be soothing. If your pet is used to music, turn some on at normal volume. Also, the sound of rainwater is very soothing to pets.
- Remove any sharp items from the room in case your pet starts jumping or running around.
Prepare yourself. In the desire to ease your pet’s pain, sometimes we can transfer some of our anxiety and upset to the pet.
- Realise that the startled and frantic reactions of your pet are often the principal source of your own upset. Being ready for their reactions can help to keep you calm as well.
Small pets and wildlife
- Ideally, bring hutches inside. If this is not possible, partly cover hutches and other outside cages with blankets so that they have some soundproofing.
- Make sure hutches and cages contain hiding places and secure areas where they can go to feel safe, with plenty of bedding – this will help keep noise out and provide a hiding place.
- If you are having your own bonfire ensure it is nowhere near any pets. Always check underneath a bonfire before lighting as hedgehogs may be hibernating there!