5th November. Remember remember our pets

Fireworks are a beautiful sight, but bring misery to many pets.
Fireworks are a beautiful sight, but bring misery to many pets.

Prepare for fireworks

5th November is a wonderful time of the year for children and adults as they watch the fireworks light up the night sky in a fantastic display of color. Unfortunately it is a time of year that many pet owners dread. The following is a guide to keeping your pet safe at bonfire night, and to reduce stress as much as possible.

My pet cat Foxy.
My pet cat Foxy.

Cats

During firework season, it is best to keep your cat indoors in the evening. It is not a good idea to allow them out in the dark, as they may get so frightened they will run off. Around 5pm in the evening, try to get your cat to stay indoors for the remainder of the night. If your cat is used to being out, you may find it helpful to buy a litter tray for the duration of the fireworks. Keep curtains drawn and have the television or stereo on to combat some of the noise from outside. My cat Foxy is so terrified that he trembles at the sound of the rockets and bangers that seem to be never ending at this time of the year. We try to keep him in the same room as us and give him plenty of fuss and attention.

Dogs

For dogs, the advice that is generally given out is much more detailed than for cats. There are many ways that you can reduce stress for your dog, and this should be planned around 2 or 3 weeks before bonfire night.

  • Make your dog feel secure and safe in their home - keep curtains drawn and have a distraction noise, e.g. television or radio.
  • Give your dog plenty of attention.
  • If your dog normally fears fireworks and gets anxious, it may be worth speaking to your vet a few weeks beforehand.
  • Try to distract your dog with toys and/or treats.
  • Keep talking to your dog, they need to feel secure, and need the calmness of your voice.
  • If your dog is extremely anxious and distressed, it may be worth considering dog appeasement pheromone which can be bought from veterinary surgeries in consultation with your vet. It can make a fearful dog feel reassured, and comes as a plug in diffuser in the home, or a collar, which must be worn at all times and approximately 2 weeks before the event.
  • Sedatives prescribed by vet - the vet may feel that your dog requires a sedative which will make the dog feel sleepy and tends to block out the memory of the frightening event taking place whilst they are sedated.

Dogs seem to have a particularly miserable time around the 5th November. If you can possibly minimize the stress, your pet will be much happier and will get over the ordeal quickly.

Rabbits and guinea pigs

Many people keep rabbits and guinea pigs outside in pens. During the fireworks, they should be brought indoors as they do not deal with stress very well. I have a large hall and keep my rabbits indoors for around 2 weeks surrounding the bonfire parties and displays which go on. I cover their cage and leave a radio on. I also pay them lots of attention and spend time with them during this time. Normally in severe winter, I transfer them to the outdoor shed

Budgies, parrots and cockatkiels

Domestic birds should be kept in cages during the fireworks. If they are allowed to fly freely, they may panic and try to find an escape route, often flying into walls and injuring themselves. Put the cage in a room with some background noise and cover the cage with a blanket or sheet which tends to keep them calm. My sister-in-law keeps her Cockatiel caged and places it in a large darkened cupboard under the stairs during the night with a radio on, which seems to have worked for the past 3 years. These tips could also be used for other small animals such as hamsters, mice and rats.

Don't forget to remember pets

Remember that pets will get very frightened and can get ill with the stress of bonfire night. If you want to go out and see fireworks, it is best to try and go along to an organised display. Setting fireworks off in your own back yard is too close a proximity if you don't want to scare them any more that they already will be.

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Comments 16 comments

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

You have definitely piqued my interest. What is the significance of November 5th? It sounds quite exciting with bonfires and fireworks.

On our July 4th (Independence Day in the U.S.) my dog wasn't too keen on the fireworks neighbors set off nearby, but the big ones in the distance didn't bother her.


TeriSilver profile image

TeriSilver 5 years ago from The Buckeye State

I giggled at this because the 5th of November is my mother's birthday and she's not crazy about loud fireworks either. Good advice. :)))


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ ktrapp - I have an American neighbor who always flies the Stars and Stripes each year on 4th July to mark Independence Day. He also has a party and has a firework display that evening

Here in the UK, we have bonfire night often called 5th November or Guy Fawkes night. Guy Fawkes on 5th November 1605 was part of an "olden day" terrorist group who planned to kill the King and blow up the Houses of Parliament in England/London. He didn't succeed as he was caught and hanged for his crimes. All over Britain on this day, we celebrate it by having fireworks and a bonfire with an effigy of Guy Fawkes made from stuffing old clothes with newspaper etc. The effigy is placed at the top of the bonfire to burn. If his plan had succeeded, many people including the King would have died.

Thank you for reading and commenting. Regards...Jacqui.


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ TeriSilver - Hi. Your mum certainly will always remember her birthday! What a shame - there is no avoiding it, she was born on the noisiest day of the year! Thanks for your comment. Best wishes.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

Jacqui - Wow. I never heard of this holiday before. I think the burning effigy might scare me a bit. It sounds like quite a celebration but I see your point about taking care of the pets.


shea duane profile image

shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

I have a neighbor who blows off at least 2 hours of illegal, loud and dangerous fireworks every July 4th. My poor dogs hide and cry and sometimes pee in the house they're so afraid. Then on July 5th, we pick up the leftovers... so inconsiderate. There's a reason the huge explosives are not legal.

great hub!


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ ktrapp - Yeah, the fireworks are lovely, but some people don't just let them off on the night of the 5th, but seem to go on for a week or so. Its so annoying and trying to keep our cat and rabbits safe is a nightmare. I feel so bad for the family of foxes at the bottom of our garden, they get so stressed and terrified. It's really inconsiderate when it goes on for days and days. Thanks for your comment.


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ shea duane - I feel so sorry for the poor pets and the wildlife. It's so inconsiderate of your neighbor to let them off, especially the big ones which they banned here, but the problem is that the manufacturers still make them. I don't have dogs, but my brother has two and they tremble and shake the whole evening. It's such a pity that they cant make them silent, and just have a light display. Thanks for reading and for commenting.


shea duane profile image

shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

by the way, foxy is very cute!


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ shea duane - Foxy struts around as though he knows he is cute. He turned out to be a fantastic natured cat despite his rough start in life. I wrote a hub about him called FIV-Foxy's story. He has the equivalent of feline aids and we got him from a rescue centre. He is adorable and so cheeky!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I had never heard of this holiday before either. Good advice! Thankfully we have a cat right now that does not mind fireworks, but I've had other cats who have. Normally if they could find good places to hide (i.e. under a bed, in the basement), they would do all right.

(You have an adorable kitty!)


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ randomcreative - The only problem that we tend to have at this holiday in the UK is that lots of people set off fireworks in their back gardens on the night, but some folk start letting them off a week or two before and after. It means that its really scary for all the animals and wildlife around as it tends to go on for so long. My cat isn't too bad now with them and we always make sure that we are around for him at nights. Thanks for your comments. Take care.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, this is so important, I remember someone setting of a firework early in the day on nov. 5 one day and my brothers cat was walking up the garden path, all relaxed and taking his time, when the rocket went off, I have never seen a cat jump so high! he, I should say she, shot up on top of the garage, fell down the side and we had to go rescue her! if it hadn't have been so serious, it would have looked really funny! lol but seriously, any good advice is brilliant, thanks nell


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

Hi Nell. Thanks for stopping by. It wouldn't be half as bad if the fireworks were only for that day, and we could safeguard our animals/pets. My pet hate is that they seem to go on for over a week, and sometimes two weeks I remember a few years back. It just seems so selfish to keep setting these off with no regard for other people and their pets. That's me finished. Rant Over. Lol. Best wishes.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

This is very thoughtful of you.

Poor pets. We will have to get headphones for their little heads or ear plugs for their tiny ears...


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ Lady_E - Thanks for stopping by. There may be a gap in the market for animal headphones and ear plugs! Lol.

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