Fireworks season is here, lighting up the night sky with riotous bangs as Gloucestershire celebrates Bonfire Night and New Year's Eve — with sensational displays expected to take place across the county on the weekend of Sunday 5 November and Sunday 31 December 2023.
But while dazzling fireworks displays are exciting for humans, they can be scary for the county's dogs and cats.
Luckily, there are some simple things pet owners can do to keep their furry friends calm during the festivities...
How to keep your dogs and cats calm during fireworks
Dog owners can use the run-up to Bonfire Night and New Year's Eve as a training opportunity, to teach their four-legged friends that big bangs are nothing to be frightened of.
To start creating positive associations, play fireworks sounds on a low volume while your dog is doing something they enjoy, like chewing a treat or playing with one of their favourite toys. You can gradually increase the volume if they stay relaxed and behave normally while the noises are playing.
If fireworks are expected, it's also wise to walk your dog on the lead and keep your cats inside after dark. If you can, try and exercise your pets in the day, so they're tired for when the festivities are predicted to start.
All animals show signs of fear differently, so knowing your pet's body language is key to gauging their anxiety on fireworks night.
Some signs to look out for in dogs include restlessness, panting, shaking, pacing the house and looking for spots to hide; while cat owners might notice their feline companions arching their back or adopting a crouching gait to make themselves appear smaller.
When the night comes, it's important for pets to have hiding places. Create a safe place for your dog to use as a den, and make sure your cat has a choice of hiding spots to retreat to around the house. Give your pets lots of personal space and gently reassure them if they choose to come to you.
For dogs, a special treat might help to keep them occupied while fireworks are being let off. Closing the curtains and putting the radio or TV on for background noise can help, too — with classical music proven to be a great option for soothing your pets.
Calming supplements also come highly recommended.
As well as helping to restore pets' gut and joint health, Cotswold RAW's nutrient-rich Bone Broth has a calming effect — and with a tasty chicken, turmeric and parsley flavour, it's a great treat to keep dogs and cats distracted during this season's fireworks displays, too.
When to expect fireworks in Gloucestershire
Check out SoGlos's round-up of Bonfire Night fireworks displays taking place in the county in 2023.
Under UK law, you can only buy fireworks and sprinklers for private use on the following dates:
- 15 October to 10 November
- 26 to 31 December
- Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
It’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am — changing to midnight and 7am on Bonfire Night; and 1am to 7am on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year. It's also illegal for anyone to set off fireworks in the street or other public places.