Dogs and cats in Lancashire: Here's how to prepare them for the stress of fireworks on bonfire night
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Last year alone, the RSPCA received 11,785 responses to their impact reporting survey, each detailing the fear responses demonstrated by animals and the experiences of their owners.
In situations like these, it's hard to know how to react or what to do. Especially if you're a new pet parent, it may not be something you've even considered in advance of firework season.
And the charity PDSA says this bonfire season may be a particularly challenging one for new pet owners.
Here are some tips on how to help your pets prepare for bonfire night ...
Begin your preparations early
The earlier you can start your pre-fireworks prep, the better. Play firework noises quietly throughout the house and pair these with their favourite treat. If they show any signs of stress, stop the noises, and try again at a lower volume when they are not reacting. Continue to do this all year round, so your pet builds up positive associations with these sounds.
Make sure your garden is secure
Secure your home and garden in advance, as fearful furry friends may panic and scarper. Ensure any ‘escape routes’ – such as holes in fences – are inaccessible.
Close windows and curtains
Make sure to close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks. Black-out your safe haven, so they can't see any flashes outside. Switch on the TV to help mask the sound of fireworks.
Create a quiet space
Create a ‘den’ in a quiet room or cupboard, which your pet can use as a safe space to hide in. It’s important that your pet already views this space as a safe place that they can escape to. Make it extra cosy with blankets and their favourite toys and treats, and add pillows or cushions to help absorb the loud noises – you can also do the same to hutches for smaller four-legged friends, who may also appreciate some extra bedding to hide away in.
Keep them calm
Using pheromone products can help anxious pets, as the scents they release provide a calming effect to relax a stressed pooch or puss. You can even prepare a calming playlist, as music with a repetitive beat might help to disguise the loud bangs from fireworks and may keep your furry friend relaxed.
Talk to your vet
If you’re concerned your pet has a severe phobia of fireworks, it’s best to speak to an expert. Your vet can advise you on measures to improve the phobia, such as professional behaviour therapy or prescribe medications to help.
RSPCA advice on how to help small animals during fireworks
Partly cover outside cages and pens with blankets so it's soundproofed and hidden, leaving an area for animals to look out.
Provide bedding for small animals to burrow in.
Consider bringing them indoors - this will need to be done gradually, so plan ahead.
Keeping horses safe during fireworks
Know in advance - check to see if there are going to be any firework displays in your area.
Talk to the organisers - where possible, explain there are horses nearby and ask them to set off their fireworks in the opposite direction.
Get advice from the British Horse Society (BHS) - for top tips on keeping your horse safe and secure during the firework season.
Visit the RSPCA website for more information.