Fireworks season is here and love it or hate it, it'll be going off with a bang. These days it’s never just one evening, fireworks tend to go on for a couple of weeks… and for pet owners, this can be a very stressful time for our pets and us!
According to a report by PDSA, 40% of pet owners said their pet is afraid of fireworks. The signs and levels of stress can vary between cats, dogs and other pets, making it difficult for us to calm them during this period.
It’s natural that our pets may show a slight reaction to the noises, however some reactions can be severe and put our pets at risk of injury. Dogs may pant, shake, hideaway, bark, have an accident in the house and some may even refuse to eat or drink. Cats will hide, become withdrawn, urinate in the house and over groom. Smaller pets, such as rabbits, will stay motionless and try to escape.
What can we do to help our pets?
If we plan ahead and prepare them for the evening, we can hopefully reduce the stress for our pets.
Before the night
Many dogs and indoor cats will have a cosy spot in the house that they like to curl up in, but if they don’t its worth setting one up a couple of weeks before fireworks are due to start, usually mid-October. Provide plenty of bedding and padding to ensure your pet sees it as inviting. You could even pop a blanket over the top, as this will muffle the noises.
And remember that your pet needs to feel that this is a place of safety and not somewhere that is seen as a punishment.
It might also be worth investing in a pheromone plug-in, humans cannot smell the scents but they are said to calm our pets, they’re available from most pet stores.
On the night
First things first. Take your dog out for a walk in the early evening/late afternoon and before it starts to get dark, this way you won’t be caught out by any fireworks whilst you’re out and about. Once you’re home and settled, ensure all windows and doors are closed and pop the TV on, or have some music playing.
Some pets will hide away, so if this is the case, leave them be - this is their way of coping with the noises. If your pet prefers to be close to you, make sure you give them plenty of love and attention. I know when the fireworks are going off my dog likes to snuggle up right next to us and sometimes we even have to tuck her into a bed!
If you’re cat tends to roam the streets at night, it may be worth keeping them inside throughout the firework season. You may also want to consider bringing in any rabbits/guinea pigs that live outside.
Remember, your pet isn’t used to these sounds and will most likely act up, so do not punish them for displaying any unwanted behaviour, as this can cause them more distress.
A big one… most pets are microchipped these days, but if your pet isn’t and they have a tendency to run away during the fireworks, now is the time to get that done!
We hope our tips help you out in the coming weeks! If you’re pets are anything like our company dog Dolly, they’ll be an anxious mess. So make sure you start planning early to help minimise the stress as much as possible.
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