How to keep your pet calm on Bonfire Night

Remember, remember, the fifth of November! Bonfire Night is almost here, and although it might look a little different for many of us this year, there’s nothing quite like seeing glittering fireworks exploding against an autumnal night! Even if we’re watching them from the comfort of our own home.

While it can be an exciting time for us humans, it can be an extremely worrying and scary time for animals. There are few pets that will stay relaxed while they hear bangs and screeches right by them, so understandably an entire night of loud noises can cause anxiety and stress for our furry friends. 

While many people are in favour of noiseless fireworks to help animals stay calm during Bonfire Night – in fact, the RSPCA has a campaign, #BangOutOfOrder, that is petitioning for firework regulations to be changed to protect animal welfare – however, few are at the moment, so it’s up to us to do what we can to support our pets.

Avoid letting them out at night

While it’s bad enough for pets that are frightened of fireworks to experience them from inside the house, it can be much worse for them if they’re outside while they’re being set off. If you have a dog, be sure to walk them during the day before fireworks are likely to be set off, and if they need to go in the garden, go with them to keep them reassured. Cats should be kept indoors too so they don’t get frightened and run into unfamiliar territory. 

Consider moving small pets inside for the evening or partially covering their hutch or cage to prevent them from being frightened by the lights and flashes. It can also help reduce noise and help them stay calm. 

Create a safe space

For cats and dogs, you can create a safe space in the house for them to hide in or under, such as furniture, a basket or a quiet corner of your home. Every pet will react differently to fireworks so you’ll know best. 

Maybe your cat wants to sneak away to an armchair full of blankets or your dog chooses to sit on your lap – whatever they prefer, accommodate this so they can feel comfortable. Some pets might want space to be alone, but if you’re concerned that they’ll cause harm, in which case keep an eye on their behaviour until they’re calm.

If your pet does become extremely frightened by a sudden noise, make sure windows and doors are secure to avoid them running away. Having a microchip with up to date details can help make it easier for you to be reunited with your pet should they go missing. 

Don’t set off fireworks in your garden

If you have a pet, the best thing to do is organise fireworks away from your home. Large events won’t be on this year, but if you want to celebrate with a small group at a safe distance, you should arrange for it to take place at someone else’s house and garden. 

It can be hard enough for pets if fireworks are being set off in the neighbourhood or nearby, so having fireworks at home isn’t ideal if your pet is anxious! If you’re on good terms with your neighbours and you know they’re having a small gathering, consider asking them to be mindful of your pets.

Help them keep calm

Supporting your dog or cat through Bonfire Night, rather than ignoring it or hoping it goes away, can help them hugely. Never punish your pet for being scared – it isn’t their fault and this can make them more worried and stressed. Treat them with kindness and comfort them as much as possible. As a pet owner, your natural instinct is to care and love your pet during times of stress so sit with them, pet them and help them feel safe and secure.

Perhaps in the past your pet has been anxious despite you keeping them indoors and ensuring they have a safe, secure space to be and you’re wondering how you can help further. As well as talking to your vet about the options available to treat anxiety, it’s worth considering a calming product that can be used during times of high stress. 

Often, we might find that our pets are happy and calm most of the time, but every now and then they might be faced with a stressful situation like Bonfire Night, so a calming product can be used on these one off occasions to help them stay as relaxed as possible. Zylkene Capsules are an effective stress management solution for dogs and cats, and can be a useful way to support your dog or cat while you assess a more long term solution. 

Neil’s top tips:

  • Close the curtains and blinds throughout your house to stop your pet from being spooked by bright lights and flashes. 
  • Consider putting the radio on or some music to drown out the sound of fireworks. If your pet is comfortable with it, you can keep them in one room with you, with music or the TV playing and places to hide to create a secure space until the fireworks stop.
  • Calming products such as Zylkene Capsules can help with firework phobia.