Pets with firework fear
The firework season will soon be upon us, starting earlier each year, and although much 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 things you can do to help though, both leading up to and during to help them feel calmer.
Calming pheromones (scents your pet can smell but you can’t) can help it’s important that these are plugged in at least 2-3 weeks before the big bangs start in order for maximum effect:
A quiet place
It’s really important to ensure your dog has a quiet place, or ‘den’, to be able to hide away and feel secure when fireworks are going off. If your dog does hide away it is best to leave him and not try to coax him out this is where he will feel most secure. You can help create this comforting space by using a plug in D.A.P® diffuser (dog appeasing pheromone). These can be purchased from vets or good pet shops and help to lower stress levels.
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 fireworks. Plugging a Feliway diffuser in the room where your cat spends most of her time will increase her sense of security and calm. Again, these can be purchased from vets and good pet shops.
Keep calm and carry on
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. In this way, ie not over-fussing them, will reassure that all is well and there is nothing to be worried about.
Early evening preparations
Early evening walks for dogs are advisable and then it is important to 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, rabbits and guinea pigs, it is 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.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen. w: www.hillsidevets.co.uk.