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How to protect pets on Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night can be traumatic for cats and dogs. We show you how to protect your pets during this year's festivities. 

Even pets that are trained to endure loud noises, such as gun dogs, can get jumpy and anxious on Bonfire Night.

It is not unusual for some animals to attempt to escape from the home when they’re frightened by the sound of fireworks.

One of the most important things a pet owner can do in preparation is to check the security of their garden.

You shouldn't simply look at whether a person could possibly escape, but think about whether a very stressed, motivated, physically impressive canine could make a break.

Six ways to protect your pet on Bonfire Night 

In addition to garden security, here's our simple six-point guide to ensuring your pets get through the firework season safe and sound.

  • It is a good idea to bring any outdoor pets inside for the duration of the firework period. If this is not possible, covering kennels up with a blanket at night will give a dog some protection from the bright flashes and loud bangs. Outside dogs are often used to thunder but fireworks can cause a very different reaction. Always remember that a dog's sense of hearing is much more acute than ours. A loud bang to us can feel like volcano erupting to a dog.
  • It may be hard, but try and stay with your dog during the majority of the firework season. A dog can often react very differently to a bang when you are not there. If possible, see if you can view your dog via a hidden vantage point just to gauge his or her reaction to any loud noises. Even though you may elect to stay with your dog, try very hard not to react to the sounds of fireworks yourself. Do your best to ignore the bangs and crashes, showing your dog that there is no imminent danger despite the loud noises and bright flashes.
  • Always make sure your dog has his or her own special area where they can go to feel safe. Be it an indoor kennel or a place under the stairs, dogs love to have a den at their disposal.
  • Keep windows and curtains closed as often as possible. It sounds obvious, but try to keep your windows and curtains closed as much as you can during firework season as this will lessen the effect of any noise and bright flashes.
  • Normal household noises such as the TV, vacuuming or music can help to distract your pet from loud outside noises. Also, you may wish to consider giving your pet a natural supplement - often known as a Soothing Animal Solution - to combat any anxiety.
  • Last but certainly not least, ensure your pet has some sort of identification on him or her. It is a sad fact but many dogs do run away from home during firework season - even dogs that have previously shown no fear can occasionally take flight at loud noises and flashes in the sky. Be prepared, your dog has no comprehension why there are sudden noises and bright lights. And as an animal with ultra-keen senses, it's important to be prepared for any sudden displays of anxiety or fear.

For more information, download K9 Magazine's free "Fireworks and Your Dog" eBook, which also includes bonus sections on how to treat general anxiety and noise phobia.

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