Firework displays on Bonfire Night are enjoyed by most people, but for a pet, they can be terrifying. The loud bangs and sudden flashes of light can be frightening for an animal and can result in panic and distress.
Statistics suggest that 80% of dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs have a phobia of fireworks, which can leave them being frightened.
Dogs often show obvious signs of distress such as panting, drooling and excessive barking, but other pets show more subtle signs which can include, ears pricked forward or back, acting withdrawn or trying to hide away.
Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, comments: “Firework noise can reach up to 150 decibels, which is as loud as a jet engine. Cats, dogs and other pets’ hearing is a lot more sensitive than humans, so it’s not surprising pets find this distressing as they have no concept of celebrations and are often left feeling confused by the situation.
“Classic signs of an animal being in distress due to fireworks include, a change in appetite, trying to escape the noise, excessive barking and drooling.”
“There are simple and effective ways to reduce anxiety and stress in pets during firework season, which typically last a few weeks around the 5th November. To help pet owners keep their pets safe and stress free during a firework display, vets are offering advice and guidance.”
Vets recommend bringing all pets indoors and closing all windows, curtains and blinds, as this will reduce the level of noise and flashing light. If this is not possible, place a thick blanket over cages and hutches. Once indoors provide plenty of toys and create spaces for smaller animals to hide.
Dr Stacey added: “Ensure all doors and windows are locked as cats can try to run away, which can be very dangerous during fireworks and where possible bring rabbits and other small animals inside. Also, remember not to react to the fireworks yourself as this can cause distress to pets because they might think you are also frightened.
“Turning on the radio or TV to drown out noise is effective and make sure you give your pet plenty of attention so it feels comforted.
“Finally, make sure your pet is microchipped. The number of pets reported missing tends to rise during Bonfire Night as they can panic, run away and get lost.
“We understand families want to enjoy Bonfire night, but want to encourage pet owners to follow some simple steps to help the whole household have a happy and stress free time.”
For further information on keeping pets calm during Bonfire night, please visit the Vets4Pets autumn pet advice page.