Fireworks: Top Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe and Happy

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According to an RSPCA study, 45% of dogs experience discomfort and distress when hearing and seeing fireworks. That’s millions of pets across the UK – and you can add a similar number of cats and other animals to the list.

If you go to changer.org and search for “fireworks” you will find many petitions. Some people want an outright ban on their use while others demand a retail ban, with pyrotechnics limited to licensed events on recognized or very close celebration dates, such as Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve. Year and some religious holidays.

But nothing is going to change in the next few days, so as November 5 approaches, what can you do to minimize the trauma your pet might experience when your neighbors start turning on the blue touch paper?

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Indoors only: dogs and cats must be indoors if fireworks are used. If they are afraid, they could run away or get hurt. Animals should always be microchipped to help locate them if they go missing. If you have a dog, take him for a walk before the likely fireworks time. You may also want to lock your cat flap if you have one.

Secure area: an animal’s instinct will be to run away or hide from a threat it doesn’t understand, so give your dog or cat a retreat where they’ll feel safe. Set it up well in advance of the likely fireworks so that your pet is used to entering it, make it as comfortable as possible, and equip it with toys and treats.

Play music: If there are loud noises outside, play some music or turn up the volume of the TV so that they are not so punchy or intrusive. Close the curtains to muffle knocks and collisions and prevent flashes of light.

Set the mood: your pet will often match your mood, so try to stay calm. If they are showing signs of distress, do what you can to soothe them. Don’t scold them if they yell, yell, or bark. They might respond well if you play with them or give them a favorite toy.

Rabbits and rodents: if you have small animals, you should cover their cages or pens to avoid noise and lightning as much as possible. If they are usually kept in the garden, you may want to consider bringing them indoors on fireworks nights.

Professional help: your veterinarian may be able to help you with additional advice on the possible use of sedatives in extreme cases.

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