As most public fireworks displays cancelled this year, families are gearing up to celebrate Bonfire Night 2020 at home, meaning more DIY style firework displays in the back garden.

This is not good news for the Scotland's pets, as the lead up to, and Bonfire Night itself, can be a very traumatic time.

The Scottish Government has endorsed recommendations from a expert group including firefighters and animal welfare organisations about setting up ‘no fireworks zones’ and having tighter restrictions on the sale of explosives - however, nothing will be in place to stop tonight's displays.

The loud bangs and flashes, are often extremely frightening and can cause stress, anxiety, and unpredictability, potentially putting their safety at risk.

According to recent research from the Kennel Club, one in four dog owners have purchased a new puppy during the pandemic, there will be lots of young dogs who will be going through their first Bonfire Night experience.


Why are pets scared of fireworks?

Many animals find fireworks scary. It's estimated that 45 percent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks. It doesn't have to be that way though, so don't ignore the problem.

There are lots of simple things you can do to help your pet deal with fireworks. By preparing in advance before fireworks start your pet will be better able to cope with the noises.


Top tips for keeping your pet calm this fireworks season:

Looking at advice from canine behaviour expert Kirsten Dillon, in partnership with premium raw pet food brand Natural Instinct, and the RSPCA's guide on how to keep your pets safe.

  1. Create a safe haven. Look at where they choose to hide and turn that place into a soundproof, darkened escape, whether that’s the downstairs toilet or under the stairs.
  2. Walk them during daylight hours to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off.
  3. Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks.
  4. Put on some music or tv to mask the firework sounds.
  5. Create a quiet space where your dog can feel in control.
  6. Create some hiding places around your home.
  7. Play some Reggae music. Clinical studies have proven that Reggae sounds will help soothe and calm anxious dogs.
  8. Play an audiobook such as Roald Dahl stories. Studies have also shown that audiobooks can help create a calm atmosphere with Roald Dahl stories being the top pick for dogs.
  9. Give your dog Sileo. Sileo is proven to be very effective and easy to administer at home to help dogs with noise aversion. However, please do consult your vet or other professional beforehand for advice and guidance, and make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully.
  10. Try plug-in diffusers, thunder shirts or pet remedies. Plug-ins typically use pheromones with de-stressing properties, while thunder shirts provide gentle constant pressure known to have relaxing effects. Pet remedies such as a calming supplement are also reported to help relieve anxiety. Once again, please consult your vet or other professional beforehand if you have any concerns, and always read and follow instructions carefully.
  11. Use something to mask the smell of fireworks. Cordite is a trigger just as much as flashes and noises, so finding a way to cover up the smell will also help.
Advice for pet owners during the fireworks season Infographic ¿ RSPCA

Advice for pet owners during fireworks season: An infographic created by the RSPCA