Advice to help your pets cope with the fear of fireworks
Remember Remember (not everyone enjoys) the 5th of November!
We all know someone with a pet that is absolutely terrified of fireworks and the frightening noises they generate even if our own pets seem to cope well. This time of year and New Year can be a nightmare for some animals and their owners. Animals have very acute hearing compared to us and as well as scaring them, loud bangs and noises may actually cause them pain too.
Below is some advice for those with pets with firework phobias which should help. Please share this with others you know may be struggling:
- Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off. Do not take a dog to a firework display or leave them outside. If possible only walk them in daylight hours if it’s likely there may be a local display or parties taking place.
- Make sure you close all windows and doors and secure cat flaps to stop pets escaping and keep noise down as much as possible.
- Draw the curtains to hide them from flashing lights. If pets are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on to block out some of the unusual noises outside.
- Try to give pets somewhere safe to hide during fireworks – this can often help. Little pets such as rabbits or guinea pigs could have extra bedding to burrow into. And hutches, cages and enclosures could perhaps be brought from outside into a quiet room, garage or shed if possible. Dogs or cats could have their bed put in a familiar but extra quiet and dark area with some comforting toys or familiar smelling garments or blankets.
- Making sure there is plenty of ventilation, try covering any aviaries or hutches with thick blankets to deaden the sound of the bangs.
- Let pets hide if they want to – they need to feel they’re keeping safe. Don’t try to hold or cuddle them unless it obviously relaxes them.
- Stay calm, try to ignore the noises and act normally. Don’t react or over react to their fear, however hard this can be – it can encourage them to be fearful.
- Speak to your vet well in advance as we can prescribe calming pheromones or medication that might help your dog if they have a hard time with fireworks. We’re offering 15% off a number of very good products including Adaptil, Feliway, Zylkene and Sileo – this special offer runs until the end of January, do ask us for details.
- And finally, always make sure your dogs and cats are wearing a collar with ID tag and that they are microchipped. It’s now a legal requirement that dogs are appropriately microchipped but we think it’s just as valuable to identichip your feline friends – they’re just as likely to get scared, run away in fright and or be involved in a road traffic accident. An up to date microchip can help reunite you as quickly as possible.
All animals display different signs of stress. Excessive panting and yawning or putting their tail between their legs can indicate that a dog is stressed. If you’re at all worried about your pet, or know someone whose pet struggles with Fireworks, please talk to your vet. We may suggest pheromone diffusers which disperse calming chemicals into the room or in some cases we may prescribe medication.
Most vets like us will also work closely with a professional behaviourist who is experienced in other ways which can help. Where there’s an identified problem, most Pet Insurance Companies will support some of the costs for behaviour work.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like more information on coping with fireworks – tips, training techniques, medication or pheromones. We’re here to help.