New Years Eve is here – but while fireworks displays can be a lot of fun for us humans, for our pets this time of year can be particularly stressful.
Hive, the home automation system created by British Gas, has highlighted research which showed that an estimated 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.
There are a number of things you can do to keep your pets calm during Bonfire Night, and whenever fireworks are lighting up the sky, and thanks to smart home automation technology it’s now easy to make sure your pet feels safe and secure.
A lot of these gadgets enable you to control your home while you’re away, which is handy if fireworks start going off when you're not in – but remember that the best way to calm your pet and reassure it is if you’re there with it.
Control the lights
A good way to help keep your pets calm while fireworks are going off is to keep the lights on, but dimmed.
This can help them relax while distracting from the bright colours flashing outside. Gadgets such as Phillips Hue (from Amazon for the white LED starter kit) and Hive Active Lights allow you to set the right brightness level for your pets, and if you’re out you can either set a timer for the lights to come on, or control your lights remotely.
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Play relaxing music
Playing relaxing music can help calm your pets and take their minds off the loud bangs from outside – which will often appear a lot louder to their superior hearing than to ours.
Online streaming services like Spotify have Pet Playlists and albums, such as Pet Care Music Therapy (which you can play below), which can help soothe your pets.
If you have a Wi-Fi speaker system such as the Sonos Play:1 (£169/$210/AU$290 from Amazon) or the Denon Heos HS2 (£199/$245/AU$340 from Amazon), you can use those to play your chosen playlist, controlling them from your smartphone.
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You could also have a standard radio, such as the Roberts Radio Play10 (£39.99/$50/AU$70 from Amazon) tuned into the relaxing tones of BBC Radio 3 and plugged into a Belkin WeMo Switch Wi-Fi Smartplug (£64.99/$80/AU$110 from Amazon), allowing you to remotely control when the radio turns on and plays music – again, useful if you’re not at home but want to comfort your pet.
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Reassure them with your voice
As we mentioned earlier, having their owners around will greatly help calm pets, but if you can’t be with them when the fireworks start going off, there are ways to bring your calming voice into the home to reassure them.
Security cameras such as the Samsung Pan and Tilt Smart Home Camera (£129/$160/AU$220 from Amazon) often come with two-way microphones and speakers, so you can use the app on your smartphone to talk to your pet, and the camera will play your voice.
You’ll also be able to hear their replies – if they're in the habit of ‘answering’ you back!
The cameras also enable you to check up on your pet to make sure they're okay, and see if they're showing signs of being distressed – if they are, you should drop what you’re doing and return home.
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Other ways to keep your pets calm during firework displays
The RSPCA has a great guide to helping your pets remain calm during fireworks.
These tips include making sure there's a safe place in your home where your pets can hide if they become scared, such as under furniture or in a cupboard.
If your pets hide there, make sure they have their space, and don’t try to tempt them out – they’ll come out when they're ready.
Keep your pets indoors during the fireworks – so if you have a dog, make sure to give them sufficient walks during daylight hours before the fireworks go off. If you have a cat, make sure they have a litter tray nearby so they can relieve themselves without having to go outside.
Creating a safe space with plenty of toys can also help keep your pets’ minds off the fireworks. Smaller animals such as hamsters can also get scared by fireworks, so make sure they have extra bedding for them to safely burrow into if they get scared.