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Updated: Jul 6

A Firework going off

Fireworks are often the cause of a lot of stress for our furry and feathered friends. Planning in advance and taking note of our Wings and Paws Rescue tips below can help firework season become less stressful for all involved.

Fireworks Help For our DELIGHTFUL DOGS:

A pug dog hiding in a blanket

Remember to walk your dog during daylight hours, this is a time when it is unlikely fireworks will be set off, and even if you're unlucky enough they are, it's light so the flashes will be less intense. A frightened dog may run off if startled on a walk by the noise and flashes of fireworks... sadly many dogs run away and hide during firework season For this reason it's important to keep your pets microchip details up to date, meaning your dog can be returned to you they go missing.

Creating a safe and quiet space for your dog can be a welcome distraction for them, if your dog is already crate trained then cover the crate with a thick blanket to create a safe 'den' for them. If you're doing this for the first time then you must make sure you only ever associate this space with positivity, never use it for punishment!! Placing it in the quietest room in your house, covering with blankets to muffle any noises or flashing lights from fireworks and playing some music will all help them feel safer.

You can keep your pet occupied with their favourite toys, a stuffed Kong or similar. Always keep the crate door open, your dog needs to feel they can hide without being trapped. Despite your best efforts they may not like the crate, so give them plenty of hiding spots, without keeping them confined to one room... but ensure there is no way they can escape out of the house as this may leave them in danger!

Once it gets dark outside, close all windows and curtains and put on the radio or TV. Remember to ignore the noises of fireworks yourself, by showing no reaction your dog may learn that there's nothing to be scared of. Never punish your pet when or if they become scared.

There are many calming aids which can help you and your pet get through the colder months when fireworks use is at their height.

  • Adaptil diffuser, sprays and collars release a synthetic calming pheromone to help relax your pet, these are available from most pet shops or your vet.

  • Speak to your vet about natural herbal remedies to help reduce anxiety and stress. There are many different types and some only take 2 hours to take effect.

  • There are also hugging vests such as Thundershirts. These wearable vests give your pet the feeling of a comforting hug, like swaddling an infant the shirt applies gentle and constant pressure to calm all types of anxiety, fear and over-excitement issues.

Fireworks Help For our FANTASTIC FelineS:

A cat hiding behind a curtain

Keeping cats indoors during the dark hours is highly recommended, especially during the time fireworks are likely to be set off. For cats that usually spend most of their time outdoors, remember to plan ahead and ensure you have litter trays in place. It is also important to ensure your cat is toileting as normal in these circumstances, as outdoor cats kept indoors can cause further stress to them.

Cats can become quite skittish if alarmed so for their own safety, keep them indoors and lock or block off any cat flaps so they cannot escape outside and onto a road if spooked. Give them plenty of hiding spots, you could place a few cardboard boxes with a blanket in quiet areas of your home, or perhaps creating a little 'den' area somewhere.

If your cat likes to hide under your bed for example, leave them be. Trying to control where they do and don't hide will cause them more stress, also never confine them to one room where they will feel trapped - allow them to choose where they feel the safest.

Once it gets dark outside, close all windows and curtains and put on the radio or TV. It's also important their microchip details are up to date, just in case.

There are many complimentary calming aids available for cats such as:

  • Feliway diffusers and sprays, they release a calming pheromone to help relax and calm your cat. Remember to use the diffusers in an area they spend most time in and away from radiators. Sprays can be used on bedding or scratching towers where they spend their time.

  • Your vet can also recommend natural herbal remedies that may help.

And of course, ensure your cat's microchip is up to date!

Fireworks Help For our small furries:

Guinea Pigs hiding under furniture

If you plan to bring your rabbits or guinea pigs indoors for bonfire night, you need to do this gradually, your little furry needs time to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings too. If you are planning to keep them in the garden as usual, then use a thick blanket to cover a portion of their hutch space to create a safe den area, the blanket creates a dark safe space and helps to muffle the noises, but keep an area uncovered so they can see out, so again they don't feel trapped. Give them extra bedding to allow them to burrow and create their own safe space.

If you are planning on having your own fireworks at home this bonfire night, please remember:

  • Fireworks contain highly toxic ingredients that can be fatal to your pet if accidentally eaten, always keep them out of reach of animals and children

  • Dispose of used fireworks safely and securely, following the manufacturers advice

  • If displays are close to your home or where you walk, check for any fallout or shrapnel, which may pose a risk to them before letting your pet outside

  • And most importantly, keep yourself, your family and your furry friends safe at all times!

Start thinking NOW about how you will help your pet stay calm and relaxed this bonfire night season. You may also want to have these tips in place ready for the Christmas and New Year period too, as we all know, the winter months can be an unpredictable time with at home firework displays!

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