Battersea offers advice to pet owners to keep dogs and cats safe and calm this Bonfire Night

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is urging pet owners to take precautions this Bonfire Night, to avoid their pets unnecessarily ending up in shelters. 

At this time of year many strays arrive at shelters like Battersea, having run away from home during firework displays. Last November, 102 stray dogs and 84 stray cats come into Battersea’s London centre.

This year the charity is hoping pet owners will keep their pets safely inside and follow a few simple steps to reduce the stress of fireworks.

Senior Canine Behaviour and Training Advisor Nathalie Ingham says: “Most dogs and cats find fireworks scary and upsetting. At Battersea we do everything we can to help reduce the stress of fireworks season for the animals in our care. We give them a safe place in their kennel or pen to hide, we put on music to mask the noise, and we black out the windows to minimise the lights of the fireworks.”

Battersea’s top ten tips to keep pets safe and calm this fireworks season 

  1. Make sure your dogs and cats are microchipped and that their microchip details are up to date. This will make it easier for them to be reunited with you if they do run away during a firework display. As of April this year, it’s now a legal requirement to microchip your dog and Battersea strongly recommends you also ensure your cat is chipped. Sadly, so far this year more than 1,000 cats and 300 dogs have arrived at Battersea without a microchip.  
  2. Avoid letting your dogs and cats outside at times when fireworks are likely to go off. Don’t walk your dogs at times when the firework displays are scheduled and keep cats securely indoors. On most days of the year it’s against the law to set fireworks off after 11pm, but this curfew is extended to midnight on Bonfire Night.  
  3. Create a safe haven inside for your dog or cat to hide in. For dogs, a table draped with a blanket is a great place for them to retreat to. If your dog is used to being in a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside. Cats generally feel safer higher up, so provide them with a box lined with blankets on a secure shelf, with the opening slightly covered.  
  4. To reduce the impact of the sudden sound of fireworks, keep a radio or television on. Music with a strong bass is ideal when played at a volume that your dog or cat is happy with. 
  5. It’s not just the sound of fireworks which distresses your pets, it’s also the light. Draw the curtains or cover the windows to minimise the lights from the fireworks.
  6. Escape-proof your home! Cats (and even some dogs) can squeeze into surprisingly tight spots, so have a look around your house and block off any dangerous areas your pets may be able to access. Make sure all doors and windows are closed. 
  7. While it’s important to make sure your house is secure, don’t confine your dog or cat to one room as they may hurt themselves trying to get out. Allow them access to all safe areas of the house. 
  8. Act normally. Animals are very perceptive and will notice if you’re behaving unusually (like following them around or being overly affectionate).  If they see that the fireworks have no effect on you, this may help decrease their anxiety.
  9. Provide dogs with a long-lasting chew to help keep them distracted. You can buy a Pedigree Jumbone from the Battersea shop for the night for your dog. You can also help the dogs in Battersea’s kennels, by making a small donation through our online shop to buy one of our dogs a chew to keep them calm on bonfire night.  
  10.  
  11. If your dog or cat is extremely stressed by fireworks, you may want to consult your vet. They may be able to provide you with medication to help reduce your pet’s anxiety. However, this should always be accompanied by a behaviour management plan. 

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For more information please call 0207 627 9333 or email press@battersea.org.uk 

Notes to editors 

  • Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. We are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society. 
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, the Home also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • In 2015 the Home cared for over 8000 dogs and cats across its three centres.
  • Battersea cares for an average of 260 dogs and 220 cats across its three centres at any one time.
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at the charity but the average stay for a dog is 30 days and 22 days for a cat.
  • A team of over 1200 volunteers help at Battersea’s three centres, in roles including dog and cat socialising, gardening, admin support and giving talks in the community.
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home rehomes dogs and cats all over the UK.
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home receives no central government funding towards the care of its dogs and cats and relies on the generosity and support of the public to help care for lost and abandoned dogs & cats. To make a donation visit our website or call 0207 627 7883.
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @BDCH or facebook.com/Battersea