Fireworks are pretty fun for us humans to watch, but this probably isn’t the case for the majority of our pets as the loud bangs, crackles and squeals can be incredibly stressful for them.
But don’t worry! There are plenty of things that we can do to make things a little easier for your pet so here are our top tips for keeping your pets calm during fire work season.
Preparing for firework season
Many of our pets will do everything they can to hide away when they hear loud bangs. This is their way of dealing with their fear so you should create a ‘safe heaven’ for them. Make a den for them inside a wardrobe or behind the sofa, you can sound proof it by padding it with pillows and blankets.
Let your pets have access to their den at all times a few weeks before bonfire night. This will allow your pet to get used to this space. Offer them a dog treat every time they use it, this will help them to build a positive connection with this space.
Pheromone plug-ins could also help to relax your cat or dog. Pheromones are calming and your dog and cat will be able to smell them but humans can’t.
If your pet already has a preferred hiding place, then don’t force them, this will be the place where they feel the most relaxed.
We hope this will never happen – but makes sure that your pet is micro chipped just encase they manage to escape when they become scared, this will increase the chance of you being reunited.
If you have any concerns about how scared your pet will become then you should speak to your local vet, with the right professional advice and help noise phobias can be treated.
What you should do during the fireworks display
Cats and dogs
· Be sure to take your dog for a walk throughout the day before the fireworks start.
· Keep all windows and doors shut.
· Draw the curtains to keep out any bright flashes.
· Put your radio on at medium volume to try and mask the sounds, try tuning into a classical channel.
· Although it may be extremely hard not to, try not to comfort your pet, this will make them feel more anxious and to your pet it will seem like you are rewarding/encouraging fear.
· Never, ever punish your pet! After all, they can’t help being scared and this will only make them feel more anxious.
· Let them hide wherever they feel comfortable – don’t try and tempt them out.
· Never restrain or pick up your pets.
Bringing outdoor hutches inside is the best option, but this is not always possible, so make sure you cover outside cages with blankets so they have some sound proofing.
Make sure that they have hiding places in their hutches. Give them plenty of bedding, this will not only help to keep out noise but it will also provide them with extra hiding places.
If you’re having a bonfire in your garden them make sure it’s well away from any of your pets.
You should always check underneath the bonfire to make sure that no hedgehogs are hibernating
What are the signs of stress?
Unlike us humans, pets don’t understand what these loud bangs and flashes are outside. Here are some signs that a stressed pet may show.
Signs of a scared dog:
· Attempting to run away
· Soiling the house
· Pacing around
· Refusing to eat
Signs of a scared cat:
· Trying to run away
· Refusing to eat
Sign of a scared rabbit:
· Stamping hind feet
· Becoming motionless
· Attempting to escape
How you can prevent a puppy or kitten from becoming scared later in life.
There are certain steps you can take to reduce the chance of them becoming scared of fireworks:
If your kitten or puppy has grown up in an environment where they aren’t exposed to normal household sounds then there’s more chance that they will be scared of noises such as fireworks.
During the first couple of months then you should gradually introduce them to sounds such as the washing machine, TV and vacuum cleaner. You can start by letting them get used to these noises from a distance, then gradually bring them closer over the following few days. If they seem nervous or anxious then start again, further away, on a different day.
A great way of teaching them about unexpected sounds such a fireworks is by using a socialisation CD’s. When real fireworks are heard then they’ll be more likely to be calm.
As well as helping your pet on the night, pets that have a phobia of loud noises can be treated for their fears using behavioural techniques. This can take time and a lot of patience is required.
Make your vet aware of your pet’s phobia. They can carry out tests to make sure that there are no underlying medical issues.
For more information on caring for your pet please visit the Burgess Pet Care website – http://www.burgesspetcare.co.uk