Preparing your pets for firework season

Fireworks are used throughout the year to mark significant seasonal celebrations including Bonfire Night, Halloween, New Year’s Eve and Diwali.

They are enjoyable for humans to watch but pets can often get scared by the loud bangs and bright flashes. Preparing your pet now can make a significant difference to how your pet copes when firework season begins.

There are several measures to try which might help your pet become less stressed when fireworks light up the skies:

  1. Use a pheromone product

Products are available that contain synthetic versions of pheromones (chemicals produced by the body) which pets find calming and reassuring. These products are available as sprays, plug-in diffusers and collars (dogs only).

There are some natural supplements available that can also help to calm your pet. These products contain casein which is a protein found in milk. The science behind the supplement is based on the knowledge that these proteins promote relaxation in breast-fed babies. This animal version can have a similar effect on many pets.

Please ask your vet for advice on the best product to help your pet.

  1. Provide hiding places within your home

Ensure there are plenty of hiding places around the house for your pet. The following are ideas to try:

  • Top of the cupboard – make sure it’s safe and there’s an ample amount of room for them to move around
  • Under the bed – clear a pet-sized space for them
  • A raised shelf – cats feel safe when they’re high up
  • Inside a box – a door cut into the side of a cardboard box makes a great cat-den
  1. Stay at home with your pets 

Stay in with your pet on bonfire night; your presence will comfort them and might distract them from the noises outside. Stressed pets can sometimes display destructive behaviours that could endanger themselves or others.

  1. Ensure your pet has access to freshwater

Anxious dogs pant more than normal which makes them thirsty so keep their water bowl nearby.

  1. Make sure your pet has a microchip

Sometimes frightened pets run away on bonfire night. It’s quicker to reunite owners with pets that have a microchip. Make sure your pet has a working microchip and that your contact details are up to date. The microchip company that holds your pet’s details on their database can help you with this.

  1. Close curtains, blinds, windows, and doors

Loud bangs and bright flashes can scare pets. Keep your windows, doors and blinds closed to reduce the volume of firework noise. If you have a cat, don’t forget to lock their cat flap so they stay safely indoors.

  1. Walk your dog early

Avoid walking your dog during the early evening and aim to go out before it’s dark. Keep dogs on their lead so, if they are startled by firework noise, they can’t run away.

  1. Bring small animals inside

Loud noises can be stressful for small animals, particularly if they live in outdoor hutches. Consider moving your rabbits or guinea pigs into the house, shed or garage. Reduce firework noise by covering outdoor hutches with a blanket (leave a gap to allow air to circulate).

  1. Provide bedding for your pet to snuggle in

If you have a small pet, put additional bedding in their hutch so they can burrow into it and hide.

  1. Noise de-sensitisation therapy

Noise de-sensitisation therapy is a great way to get your pet used to fireworks well before bonfire night. There are many CDs and downloadable tracks that you can play to your pet. By gradually increasing the volume of these sounds, your pet will become accustomed to the noise of fireworks and, over time, be less anxious on bonfire night.

  1. Don’t punish “bad behaviour”

Pets can’t help feeling scared so try to stay calm, even if your pet shows some dubious behaviour. Pets often take their cue from their owners so, in theory, the calmer you are, the calmer your pet will feel.

 

For further information, visit www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks

This entry was posted in General News.

Comments are closed.