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Keeping Pets Safe On Fireworks Night

We all know that dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs should be kept indoors on fireworks night. But how can you make sure that the loud bangs and squeals don’t scare them or put them under unnecessary stress? Our pet care specialists take a look at some of the measures you can implement to ensure that your cats, dogs and other pets stay safe and happy this November 5th.

Keeping your cats safe

Cats are often allowed to come and go as they please – with a cat flap or open window, they are eternal wanderers. If your cats are anything like the ones here in the Me & My Pets Team, you’ll find they can disappear for days at a time before sauntering back as if they’ve only been gone for 10 minutes!

So how, in the words of the Reverend Mother from the Sound of Music, do you keep a wave upon the sand and tie down your wandering minstrel this November 5th?

Sadly, there is no solution other than limiting the freedom of your cat. Waiting until 5pm on the 5th isn’t going to cut it – fireworks start earlier and earlier every year, and chances are that the neighbours will already have their emerald fountains erupting worryingly close to the back fence as soon as the little ones get home from school.

Plan in advance

Expect to keep your cat in for at least 24 hours. If your cat doesn’t use a litter tray, you will need to introduce one into the home in advance so that they get used to using it again. Outdoor cats will quickly adapt to using their old outdoor toilet spots again, so you don’t need to be concerned about removing the litter tray once the 5th November has passed.

A week in advance, set up a litter tray by the back door. Use a sand or grit litter as these are often much more appealing to outdoor cats. Gradually wean your cat onto using the tray again by closing the cat flap for a few hours each day.

If you are still finding your cat will not use the tray, try filling it with some dirt from the garden! The familiar smell will soon help to spark your cat’s intuition and they will be using the tray in no time.

We advise keeping your cat in from the 4th November in the evening, or early morning on the 5th.

Have some treats lined up – Dreamies are always a favourite! Or go for some fresh chicken or salmon to help to distract your cat once the bangs start. You can also try a soothing plugin or spray such as Feliway. We also love providing our cats with some catnip as a soporific treat!

If you are going to be outside watching fireworks yourself, you need to make sure that your cat doesn’t slip away through the backdoor. Operate an ‘air lock’ style system, of moving your cat into a room with a closed door, and only opening the back or front doors when the cat cannot access them.

Move your cat’s bed into a quiet room, and give them lots of attention and comfort throughout the evening.

Keeping your dog safe

Whilst a cat may be more inclined to hide under the bed until the noises have stopped, some dogs have a tendency to react quite strongly to the sound of fireworks, and can get really quite shaken up if exposed to loud and sudden bangs.

As dogs can’t use litter trays, planning for toilet trips is harder than with cats. There will be a point where you have to take your dog outside, but there are steps you can take to ease the shock when you do.

Ask your neighbours

If you are friendly with your neighbours, ask them if they will be lighting fireworks and at what time they’ll be doing it. Explain that you are trying to time a dog walk around the garden with a quiet 15 minutes, so they can give you a heads up once the celebrations have finished.

You’ll probably find that there’ll be intermittent explosions all day, but the real noise will begin as soon as it starts getting dark. Take your dog for as long a walk as you can, so that they can stay indoors without getting bored for the rest of the evening or needing the toilet, and aim to be back by half past four at the latest.

Once indoors, you will probably need to keep your dog from a toilet break until around 11pm when things start to quieten down. If you have a particularly young dog or puppy, invest in some puppy pads in case of an accident!

Give your dog their favourite toys, a treat or two and settle them down as early as possible. You can also give your dog an item of your clothing as a comfort. Being able to smell you will help your dog to feel safe. Alternatively, you can hop into your dog’s bed and spend the evening cuddling. Not that we do that… honest…

Rabbits and guinea pigs on fireworks night

Being self-contained has its benefits and fireworks night logistics happens to be one of them. Luckily for our small, four-legged friends their food, water, bed and toilet facilities are all neatly contained within their hutch, so you can simply bring the hutch inside for the evening.

Make sure that the hutch is placed somewhere that they will not be disturbed by loud guests – and avoid placing it next to a radiator. Animals which are used to being outside can overheat very quickly when exposed to artificial heating sources.

You should cover a hutch at night with a tarpaulin or waterproof cover during the autumn and winter months anyway, as this helps to keep animals safe, warm and dry. However, this can also be beneficial when they have been brought indoors. The sudden change of environment, artificial lights and lots of noise or movement can be very disturbing for rabbits and guinea pigs, so consider covering them up for the night even though they are indoors.

Just remember that you don’t get as much air flow inside as you do in the garden, so make sure that you don’t wrap the cover tightly.

Don’t worry too much!

We all love our pets as part of the family, so it’s natural that we want them to be happy, secure and safe at all times. It can be nerve wracking wondering if they are going to be ok on fireworks night, however you mustn’t worry unnecessarily.

For all of this planning, you will probably find that your pets are perfectly happy, and spend the evening as though it was just like any other! Besides, there will be left-over sausages from the bonfire, what dog could resist? ????

Have a fantastic 5th November and enjoy yourselves!

Disclaimer: This content in this article is intended for information or entertainment purposes only, it is not intended to replace the advice of a vet or animal health professional. Your use of the information is entirely at your own risk and Me & My Pets assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information found on this site. If you have any questions or concerns over your pet's wellbeing you should consult your vet immediately.  

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