Fireworks & Pets - Help Keep Them Safe
It is that time of year when many people will enjoy the tradition of celebrating Halloween and November 5th with bonfires and fireworks. It is also the time of the year that many pet owners dread as many pets are very scared and anxious of loud noises & surprise visitors. Add flashing lights, lots of strange visitors and scary costumes and they can become terrified and very distressed quite quickly.
Recognising the signs of stress in your animals is key to ensuring you can help them to feel safe and calm.
Signs of stress include:
- Pacing & panting
- Trembling & shaking
- Hiding or being clingy
- Barking & whining
- Destructive behaviour
- Refusing to eat
- Toileting in the house
- Rabbits will stomp their feet, run around frantically or freeze
If you plan ahead there are many things we can do to help animals cope with the distress of fireworks. We prefer to use natural methods if possible but these take time to work and so putting a plan in place at least 1-2 weeks before anticipating a problem is best. Please come and talk to our vets and nurses now about possible solutions - these may include herbal remedies, diffusers, collars impregnated with calming products, clothing such as ‘Thundershirts’, or, in extreme cases, medications to help reduce anxiety.
Here are some things you can do in your home to keep your pets safe & calm during firework season:
- Make sure your dog or cat is kept indoors and the environment is safe and secure.
- Make sure they have somewhere to hide in the house, such as a den, their favourite crate or cage.
- Cats may want to hide wherever they feel safe. This might be under a bed or on top of a wardrobe - it will generally be a small and dark place.
- Do not try to tempt your pet out of their hiding places as this will make them more anxious.
- Make sure your pets are microchipped and have an identification tag so that if they do escape and run away they can be reunited with you quickly.
- Walk your dog early and then close curtains and play music to muffle any noise. Provide toys and stuffed Kong’s or chews for distraction.
- Make sure cat flaps are locked and secured to prevent escape.
- Try to act normally and do not get stressed or anxious yourself as your pet will pick up on this and feel worse.
- Rabbits, guinea pigs and other small furries should be brought inside from outdoor hutches to safe calm spaces with extra bedding to hide in.
Also don’t forget about other animals and our native wildlife species such as horses, hedgehogs & wild rabbits. Sadly these animals cannot be brought inside and cuddled like our pets. If you have plans to set off fireworks or have a bonfire built ready to light, remember to inform your neighbours and check your bonfire pile for little critters that may have mistaken it for a perfect hiding place or nesting spot.