With nearly half of all dogs in the UK (45%) showing signs of anxiety when they hear fireworks, the RSPCA has published some simple guidelines and a Pets & Fireworks video on how to help pets feel safe.
Whether it’s a dog, a cat or another little pet, planning ahead can pay dividends.
Make sure your dog or cat has somewhere to hide – perhaps under some furniture or in a cupboard – and can get to it at any time.
Ensure your pet is kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape
Make sure your pets are microchipped in case they do escape
During fireworks season, walk dogs during daylight and keep pets indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off
At nightfall, close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks
RSPCA animal behaviour expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Firework phobia in pets is a treatable condition and we recommend seeking advice from your vet so that you can plan ahead and help your pet cope around firework season. For example, if your dog is frightened of fireworks your vet may suggest referral to a clinical animal behaviourist to teach him/her to deal with the sounds, or the use of diffusers which disperse calming chemicals into the room..
“It is also a good idea to provide your dog with a safe haven. It is best to get your dog used to this before the season starts. Choose somewhere quiet and help him to learn that being there is positive and that no harm will come to him. You can do this by giving him toys or a variety of chew toys.
“Small animals that live outside should have lots of extra bedding so they can burrow and some of their enclosure could be covered by a blanket for extra insulation and sound-proofing. If you are planning to bring them indoors just before the fireworks are likely to start then introduce this before fireworks season.
“And if you are using fireworks yourself, please only do so on traditional celebration dates like Bonfire Night, when most animal owners will be expecting fireworks and will hopefully have made preparations to help their animals cope.”
Figures from the RSPCA show hundreds of calls are made about fireworks every year to the charity. Last year (2016) 345 calls were logged in just October and November alone.
Sadly it is not only companion animals that are affected by fireworks. Farm animals also can be easily frightened by loud noises and sudden flashes of bright light, which can startle them and cause them to injure themselves on fencing, farm equipment or, in the case of housed animals, on fixtures and fittings within the house. Further, wildlife can be burnt alive after making their home in bonfires.