How to protect your pets from fireworks – Expert tips for calm pets this Halloween

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Dog trainer shares advice ahead of Fireworks Night

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Bonfire Night, Halloween and New Year’s Eve can be traumatic events when it comes to our furry four-legged friends. With many firework displays set to go ahead this year, soundproofing your property should be a top priority to protect your pets from the noise. While treats and cuddles will certainly help soothe your cats and dogs, these expert tips will keep your home quieter and your pets even calmer.

Use soft furnishings

Take advantage of soft furnishings like rugs, pillows and blankets by filling a ‘safe’ spot for your pet with cosy items.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Dr Scott Miller, veterinary expert and spokesperson for Dogtastic, said: “Find a place in the centre of the house to provide your dog somewhere to feel nestled and secure while the fireworks rage on outside.”

Create an environment that is:

  • Dark
  • Away from windows
  • Covered in soft furnishings – carpet, rugs, curtains, blankets, cushions

Make a den

Louise Moran from Bruce’s Doggy Day Care recommends making a purpose-built den for your pet, using everyday household items to structure this safe retreat.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she said: “Using a clothes horse or a crate, creating a den can be a great place for your dog to be able to hide inside if they become scared.

“Cover the den in thick blankets and towels to help block out sounds whilst making it as comfortable as possible.”

Keeping your furry companion’s bed and favourite toys nearby will comfort them if startled by the sound of fireworks.

Stock up on distractions

Don’t forget to keep water, treats and home comforts in your ‘safe space’ to avoid your pet having to leave the hideaway.

Dr Scott Miller says drawing the curtains and using the radio, TV or soothing music will help to divert your pet’s attention away from their fears.

He added: “Blocking out the flashes and dampening the sound of the bangs by pulling the curtains and having some low-level background music on works well.

“In particular, dance music can be beneficial as it has a consistent beat to mask the fireworks going off and tends to put people in a happy, ‘dancey’ mood, which keeps your dog’s spirits high.”

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Prepare for the evening

Soundproofing your home will be less effective if your dog is stressed out before the fireworks begin.

Whether they’re next door in a neighbours garden, or a mile away from your home, your dog will be on high alert when it comes to listening for the loud bangs of fireworks.

Dr Scott Miller said: “A good, long walk during the middle of the day will burn off any excess energy that can lead to an on-edge pooch, and hopefully tire your dog out so that they feel much calmer as the night draws in and fireworks start.”

What about outdoor pets?

Animals kept in outdoor hutches like rabbits and guinea pigs should not be forgotten when it comes to loud fireworks.

Small, furry pets run a higher risk of injury or even death when exposed to loud noises.

Veterinary experts recommend bringing small pets indoors if they are usually kept outside.

Vets Now added: “Every autumn our emergency vets treat hundreds of pets who have been involved in road traffic accidents after being spooked by fireworks and running into the road.

“Rabbits have even been known to die of fright when fireworks are set off near their home, so owners can really help by ensuring their pets are as calm and comfortable as possible on and around firework events.”

Expert top tips

Creating a safe environment for your pets inside the home will relieve your furry friends from some of the stress that comes with fireworks.

Dr Scott and Louise Moran have rounded up their top tips to make the coming weeks a little easier for you and your pets.

  • Avoid walking dogs in the evenings or letting cats out as it gets dark
  • Keep microchip details up to date to safeguard your pet in the event of a sudden escape
  • Feed your dog earlier in the day to avoid fear-related starvation while fireworks are in action
  • Use soothing scents like primrose oil in your home
  • Stock up on treats to divert your pet’s attention
  • Avoid smothering them with attention unless they are obviously calm – you could unwittingly enforce something they are anxious about
  • Never leave your pets alone when fireworks are expected

You should always seek professional advice from your veterinary practice if you are concerned about your pet.

What do you think about banning fireworks? Are you in favour of silent alternatives or going cold turkey on them all together? Let us know your thought in the comments below.

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