UPDATED - Bonfire Night
How to help your pet during firework season
On the Night
Even the most sensible horses can be startled by fireworks. There are steps you can take to minimise the impact they have on your horse. Fireworks are now seen on many occasions throughout the year, but mainly bonfire night (5th November).
... Keep your horse in the same routine as he is every day and try not to change anything, unless there are real benefits to changing, such as moving further away from a firework display.
... Keep friends together, your horse will cope better with his buddies around.
... If you’re unable to be with your horse to monitor his behaviour, make sure you have a trusted and knowledgeable person who can help and that you are available at the end of the phone in the case of an emergency.
... Check for any hazards such as broken fences, foreign objects to ensure that the risk to a spooked horse is minimised.
Take your dog for a walk before it starts to get dark to avoid being outside when the fireworks start going off.
... When the fireworks begin, shut all doors and windows to muffle the noise as much as possible.
... If your dog shows signs of anxiety such as being vocal/pacing/trying to hide etc, let them, this is their way of coping. If comforting your pet appears to relax them then that is okay but, if they try to hide and wish to ride the storm out alone, comforting may only cause more stress so, best to let them be.
... If your dog can perform commands like ‘paw’, engage them in some training as a distraction.
... If you have an outdoor cat, call them indoors before it starts to get dark.
... Make sure doors and windows are closed to avoid your cat escaping.
... Try and engage your cat in play as a distraction.
Rabbits, hamsters and other small animals also find bonfire night stressful. You can help them feel safe by bringing outdoor cages inside your home or shed, and covering the top with a blanket to block out noise and light. Provide extra bedding for your pet to burrow into if they feel scared, as well as some extra treats to occupy them.
Despite these precautions, your pets may still show signs of fear. This is perfectly normal and you should try not to worry. If you feel they are suffering, book in with your vet to discuss medications or behavioural therapies that can help.