Bristol Animal Rescue Centre shares tips to keep pets safe on Bonfire Night 

It’s estimated that around 5.4 million dogs suffer fireworks terror every year 
According to data from the RSPCA, 45% of dogs in the UK (around 5.4 million dogs) show signs of fear when they hear fireworksAccording to data from the RSPCA, 45% of dogs in the UK (around 5.4 million dogs) show signs of fear when they hear fireworks
According to data from the RSPCA, 45% of dogs in the UK (around 5.4 million dogs) show signs of fear when they hear fireworks

Bristol Animal Rescue Centre has issued ten tips to keep pets safe on Bonfire Night.

According to data from the RSPCA, 45% of dogs in the UK (around 5.4 million dogs) show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, with cats, small animals, and livestock affected too.          

For new pet owners who adopted animals during lockdown, this could be their first experience of caring for a terrified pet on November 5.    

The experts at Bristol Animal Rescue Centre in Albert Road say now is the time to get the final preparations in place if you have a pet that might be affected.    

Zita Polgar, senior animal behaviourist at Bristol Animal Rescue Centre said: “Each animal’s response to fireworks is different, but some pets might tremble, shut down, or freeze.   

“Some might panic, causing physical injury to themselves or others around them, or damaging furniture.  

“They may try to escape or run away. It can be distressing for pet owners to see, especially if you’re unprepared.” 

Bristol Animal Rescue Centre has put together the following ten tips for pet owners to prepare for the fireworks season:   

  1. Start prepping your pet early – for dogs, we recommend Sounds Scary, an easy-to-follow therapy pack that includes a specially made set of high-quality sound recordings and a guide for owners to help get their dogs less afraid of loud noises.

  2. Walk your dog during daylight hours to avoid being outside when fireworks are likely to be set off.

  3. Cats can become more stressed if they’re outside during fireworks, so ensure you get them inside before nightfall.

  4. Make sure they have a safe place to hide if they want to and ensure they have access to this place at all times.

  5. Make sure your pet can’t escape outside if there’s a sudden noise.

  6. Have your pet microchipped if they escape (by law all dogs should be microchipped).

  7. Ask your vet for advice about medications that can help calm your pet for the night. They can also advise about pheromone diffusers – these dispense calming chemicals into the room and may help ease your pet’s anxiety – and being referred to an animal behaviourists for help.

  8. At nightfall, close the windows and curtains and put on music to muffle the sound of fireworks. 

  9. Stay at home – being there to offer reassurance can help. With dogs, it can help to ignore the fireworks but instead, take out a favourite toy and play with it to see if they want to join you – but don’t force them.

  10. Don’t punish your pets when they are scared as this will just worsen it in the long run. 

Bristol Animal Rescue Centre has also created a special video to help owners prepare their pets for fireworks. You can watch it here.