Keep your pet calm in fireworks season

Fireworks warning - Dennis hides under the duvet where he feels safe.
Fireworks warning - Dennis hides under the duvet where he feels safe.

With fireworks already on sale, experts are offering plenty of advice to pet owners in the run up to November 5.

A new survey from Dogs Trust and Cats Protection of 3,750 pet owners shows that two-thirds of dogs and more than half of cats display signs of fear at fireworks.

Nearly a fifth of owners have consulted a veterinary surgeon or animal behaviourist to help their pet deal with their fireworks fear, and over 80% of owners believe fireworks should be restricted to official displays only.

If you are among the millions of pet owners whose dogs or cats are spooked by sparklers or rattled by rockets, Dogs Trust and Cats Protection can help soothe those canine quivers and keep cats calm.

Each year the charities are inundated with calls from pet owners who simply don’t know how to calm their pets.

Lynn Barber, Head of Canine Behaviour and Training at Dogs Trust, said: “November is potentially a worrying month for pet owners as so many pets are sensitive to sounds. Dogs particularly hear much higher frequencies than we do and the wiz and pop of fireworks can be alarming for them.

“The survey found that, of pets that who were worried by fireworks, 70% seek a safe place to hide to deal with their fireworks worry.

“So, if your pet chooses to hide then that is where he or she feels safest and it’s important that they’re allowed to stay in their hide-out as long as needed. Often owners will try and drag their dogs out for enforced cuddles and affection; this should be avoided.”

Nicky Trevorrow, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager said: “When faced with a stressful situation such as fireworks a cat’s natural behaviour is to run away, seek an elevated perch and/or hide so it is important for owners to provide hiding places for their cat during fireworks season.”


Before the fireworks begin:

· If your pet has struggled with fireworks before, visit the vet well in advance of November 5 to give you time to try any prescribed medication. You can also ask about DAP – Dog Appeasing Pheromone, a scent that can comfort your dog or a pheromone plug-in diffuser such as Feliway® which can have a beneficial effect in calming cats.

· Walk your dog before fireworks begin. Keep your cat inside before it gets dark.

· Try to settle your pet before the fireworks start – if your pet is in familiar safe surroundings it will help him cope with the noise

· Provide a safe hiding place – at noisy times around Bonfire Night, make sure your pet has somewhere safe to hide. Close the curtains and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out the firework noises.

During the fireworks:

· Don’t punish a cat or dog for cowering or reacting to the fireworks as this will intensify his or her fear.

· Don’t leave your pet alone in the house during the fireworks period – he or she may panic and this could result in an injury.

· Keep your pet indoors

· Remain calm yourself.