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Like any other celebration, you’ll be planning your upcoming Bonfire Night with great enthusiasm. But it’s not just your night you need to think about, your pet needs a plan too. Fireworks can cause stress in cats and dogs. In fact, 54% of cats and 62% of dogs show signs of distress when they hear fireworks (RSPCA). Check out our step by step guide to make sure you and your pet have a stress-free bonfire night.
Have you been caught out by unexpected fireworks and need to calm your dog right away? Read this blog.
Are there any bonfire night celebrations in your area? Do you know if your neighbours will be holding their own fireworks? Knowing these details means you can plan ahead, and help reduce any stress your cat or dog may experience from fireworks.
It’s a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. To remain compliant your contact details must be up-to-date. We recommend doing the same for cats.
For more information about microchipping, you can visit these helpful links:
Dogs Trust -
When in a public place, all dogs must wear a collar with their owner’s name and address on, so make sure this is correct too. As owners, we'll do all we can to make sure our pets don’t get scared and run off during fireworks. But, if they do you’ll want to make sure you are reunited with them as quickly as possible.
Fireworks can last a long time, and one of your pet’s reactions to fireworks could be to run and hide. As you don’t know how long your cat or dog will hide, you want your pet to be as comfortable as possible.
Your cat or dog may retreat to a place in your home that feels familiar and safe. If they already have a favourite place or ‘safe zone’, try to make it more firework proof.
Duvets and blankets can help muffle the sound of fireworks. Use one to cover your pet’s den – pegs can be useful for keeping them in place. Add some clothing that smells of you and extra bedding to help soothe you pet and make the space more comfy. Place some toys and treats inside. This will help your pet create a positive association with the space, and they will feel happier being there.
Don’t try and tempt your pet out of their pet den when they go in – this can cause further stress for cats and dogs. On the night, make sure you have a supply of food or treats they love so you can reward good and calm behaviour. Be careful not to overfeed your pet though – a nervous cat or dog could be feeling sick, which can make them feel more stressed.
Dogs in particular can get dehydrated when stressed, so remember to keep their water bowl topped up.
Before the night, play some firework noises in your house. Don’t turn the volume up really high, but do make sure your cat or dog can hear it. This will help them to get used to the noise, so when fireworks start going off for real they’re more accustomed to the noise.
You can download the Dog’s Trust’s ‘Sounds Scary’ programme, which is specific for fireworks, here:
Help your pet feel more at ease during fireworks with the Beaphar Pheromone Calming Range. The range includes calming diffusers and calming sprays, which are available for cats and for dogs. The products themselves contain synthetic copies of specific cat or dog pheromones. These pheromones are clinically proven to promote feelings of reassurance and happiness. This makes the products ideal for helping cats and dogs during fireworks.
When creating your pet den, use the cat or dog pheromone calming spray on the blankets and bedding. You can also plug in the appropriate calming diffuser for your pet in the same room. This will help your pet recognise the pet den as a ‘safe space’ for stressful situations, such as fireworks.
Find out more about the Beaphar Pheromone Calming Range here .
If your cat or dog’s feeding time coincides with fireworks, feed them earlier. Once the fireworks start your pet could become too stressed to eat.
Take dogs for a walk earlier in the day before the fireworks begin. For cats that go out during the day, consider closing the cat flap earlier than usual. If they stay out for long periods of time or are hard to tempt inside, you may want to keep them indoors all day.
Once your pet is inside, double check you’ve locked your windows, doors and cat/dog flaps. Cats and dogs may try to run from the noise and light of the fireworks. If they end up outside, they will be in an even scarier and more stressful situation and are more likely to run away and get lost.
Close the curtains, particularly in the room in which you’ve built your pet den, to block out the noise and light from fireworks. Put on some music or turn your television up a little louder than normal to help muffle the sounds. Having some of your pet’s favourite toys lying around may also help them to focus on another activity rather than the noise.
In the same way that children look to their parents and take cues from them, your pet will too. If you don’t seem bothered by the noise, then your cat or dog will feel more relaxed.