Pets with firework fear!
The firework season will soon be upon us and although lots of fun for you and your family it’s estimated that around 60% of pets become stressed and fearful while fireworks are going off. There are, however, things you can do to help leading up to and during them to help them feel calmer.
Appeasing pheromones (scents your pet can smell but you can’t) can help enormously as they help to create a calming environment. It’s best to plug these in at least 2-3 weeks before the big bangs start in order for maximum effect – these are Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats.
It’s really important to ensure your dog has a quiet place, a ‘den’, to be able to hide away and feel secure when fireworks are going off. If your dog does hide away it’s best to leave him and not try to coax him out – this is where he will feel most secure. Adding his favourite toys and blanket will also help in creating a loving and relaxing space.
If your cat hides away leave her alone and do not try to coax her out; this is where she will feel most secure and happy during the bangs and flashing lights of the fireworks. Plugging a Feliway diffuser in the room where your cat spends most of her time will increase her sense of security and calm.
Your reaction to your pet’s fearful behaviour is important. Stay calm and relaxed and continue to act as normal as possible. If your pet is seeking reassurance or petting, simply continue as you would do in any normal situation, ie stroking, talking to them as you do every day. This will reassure them that all is well and there is nothing to be worried about. Don’t ignore them if you would normally pet them as they will see this as something is wrong.
Early evening walks for dogs are advisable and then make sure your pets are safely indoors. Close windows and doors and keep curtains closed. Leaving the television or radio on to mask the sound of the fireworks outside is a good idea. For pets living outdoors, like rabbits and guinea pigs, it’s essential they are secure and covered over as early in the evening as possible. If you are able, it’s a good idea to move them to a shed or the garage for the night.
Seek advice from your vet in good time if you are concerned about your pet’s fear of fireworks.
For more information: www.ceva.co.uk.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.