Fireworks season is about to kick-off. The loud bangs and pretty lights can be fun for us, but with their acute hearing, many pets, of all sizes, find firework noise and flashes frightening.
Please read our helpful tips to help your pets cope better with fireworks.
Planning ahead for fireworks
If your pet suffers from fireworks phobia, please do talk to your vet as the condition is entirely treatable. In the long-term, with proper treatment it is possible for pets to learn to be less afraid of loud noises. You may be referred to a behavioural expert for help.
Signs that your dog is afraid include: trembling, shaking, barking,trying to hide.
Behavioural changes often take time, so in the meantime, here are some quick tips to help your pets during fireworks:
- For any pet, whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit or rodent, make sure you provide suitable hiding places they can access at all times to feel safe
- Close all windows and curtains
- Play music or put on the television to muffle the fireworks
- Make sure they’re kept in a safe, secure place during any display
- Make sure your pets are microchipped in case they escape
- Never punish them when they’re scared as it can make things worse
Help for dogs and fireworks
It’s estimated 45 per cent of dogs are fearful of fireworks – here are some ways you can help:
- Create a ‘dog den’ in a quiet area of the house where they can feel safe
Train your dog to associate their den with positive experiences i.e. a place for treats and toys (such as a kong with treats inside).
- Give them their walk earlier in the day.
- Ignore the fireworks yourself, acting different may increase stress for your dog.
- Let them out in the garden with no lead. If they need the toilet, take them out on a lead to prevent escape.
- Force them to come out of their hiding area.
- Never ever take a dog to a fireworks display – even if they don’t appear scared – it’s still highly likely to be a stressful situation for them.
Help with cats and fireworks
It’s not unusual for cats to be frightened of fireworks, to help your cat during a display:
- Provide a hiding place they can access at all times
- keep your cat inside and secure any possible escape routes,
- make sure a litter tray is available.
- try to tempt your cat out of their hiding place,
- try to pick them up or restrain them.
There are diffusers on the market that may be able to help relax your cat or dog at home – speak to your vet if you’d like to find out more about these products.
Advice for rabbits and other small animals
It’s important not to forget any smaller animals that you’re taking care of, as they often find fireworks scary too.
- Consider bringing any outside pets inside. This should be done gradually so you’ll need to plan ahead.
- Partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets for soundproofing. However, make sure they can still see out.
- Also provide extra bedding so they can burrow to feel more safe.