Bonfire Night has been and gone but the fireworks aren’t quite over yet. As New Year creeps ever-closer, we may delight in the pretty explosions of colour that light up the night sky — but it’s a very different story for our pets.
If your pets are scared of fireworks, you may feel like there’s very little you can do to help them. However, there are ways you can safeguard them and keep them calm over the fireworks season. Feedem explains more:
Recognise the signs of fear
Usually, your pet will make it clear if they’re scared. However, in other cases — especially with smaller animals — it can be difficult to know how they’re feeling. Understanding the signs and knowing what to look out for is key to caring for your pets. Be aware of the following:
- High heart rate
- Hiding behind furniture
- Climbing on top of furniture
- Refusing to eat
- Running away
- Staying still and motionless
- Trying to escape
- Stamping feet
- Biting when picked up
- Rapid breathing
- Running at walls
- Wide eyes
- Hiding head first in corners
- Stiffened bodies
- Shaking tails
- Puffed up coats
Dogs, cats & fireworks
1. Keep them indoors
If you have a dog or a cat, the first step to making sure they’re safe is to keep them indoors if you know there is a chance of fireworks, like on New Year’s Eve for example. Walk your dog earlier in the day, when fireworks are less likely to be set off. Make sure you block off any cat flaps to prevent feline friends from escaping.
2. Minimise noise
You’ll also need to minimise noise. Shut all doors and windows, draw the curtains and turn up the TV or radio. This will help to mask the noise of the fireworks.
3. Respect their reactions
There’s no predicting how your pets will react to fear. For example, some may prefer to sit on your lap while others will pace the floor or hide. Always allow them to do whatever makes them feel comfortable. Trying to coax your pet out of their hidey hole can cause more stress — the last thing they need in an already stressful situation. Leave a pile of clothes or blankets out so your pet can burrow under something familiar to help them feel more secure.
4. Don’t leave them alone
During fireworks, you should always stay with your pets. Leaving your pets alone at home, in cars or outside a shop can increase anxiety levels.
5. Consider using calming products
Calming products are available, like tablets, powders and droplets, to help ease your pet’s anxiety. They are usually only used in extreme cases. If you are thinking about using them, you should always consult a vet first.
Small pets & fireworks
Have a rabbit, mouse, guinea pig or other small pet? They can get scared too. If they usually live outside, you can make them feel safer by bringing their cage or hutch indoors into a quiet room or garage.
This isn’t always possible depending on the size or type of your property. If it’s not, turn their hutch around to face a wall or fence — the presence of the structure will help them feel more secure and at ease.
It’s also a good idea to place extra bedding in their cage, as small animals often like to burrow when they’re scared. You can also take their mind off the fireworks by giving them a healthy treat, as this will focus their attention on eating instead.