How to keep your pet safe on Guy Fawkes Night (UK) or Local Ferias (Spain)

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GUY FAWKES NIGHT is annually held on November 5 and marks the anniversary of the discovery of a plot organized by Catholic conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605.

The explosives would have been set off when King James I of England (King James VI of Scotland) and many parliamentary members were in the building. Many people, mainly in the UK, light bonfires and set off fireworks to commemorate the date.

But today is a reminder that fireworks are NOT your pet’s best friend.

Why are pets scared of fireworks?

Many animals find fireworks scary. It’s estimated that 45 per cent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.

Some dogs have no problem with the sight and sound of fireworks if they’ve been desensitised — hunting dogs, for example, grow used to the sounds and smells of hunting rifles and gun powder. Most dogs, however, are not used to these things, so Guy Fawkes Night can be a particularly stressful night for dogs and their humans alike.

It is natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous systems, and they can become anxious or afraid. Running away from the noise is a survival instinct.

Dogs’ experience of fireworks is different than other natural loud noises, like thunder. Fireworks are closer to the ground, more vibrant, and are accompanied by sudden booms, flashes and burning smells. Dogs experience the world through their senses — nose, eyes, ears. The typical Guy Fawkes Night can be overwhelming to them.

There are lots of simple things you can do to help your pet deal with fireworks, be it on Guy Fawkes Night or your local town feria. By preparing in advance before fireworks start so your pet will be better able to cope with the noises

How to calm dogs during fireworks

  • Walk them during daylight hours to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off
  • Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks
  • Put on some music or tv to mask the firework sounds
  • Create a quiet space where your dog can feel in control
  • Create some hiding places around your home

Cats

  • Provide hiding places in your home
  • Cats can become more stressed if they’re outside during fireworks

Small animals

  • Partly cover outside cages and pens with blankets so an area is soundproofed and hidden, but allow another area for the animals to look out
  • Provide bedding small animals can burrow in
  • Consider bringing them indoors
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Written by

Cristina Hodgson

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