Do fireworks put your pets in a fizz?
Fireworks’ ‘season’ (unfortunately this isn’t just one night of the year anymore) is fast approaching and if your pets find the bangs and flashes frightening it can be an extremely stressful time for all the family.
NOW is the time to start preparing!
Calming supplements or anti-anxiety pheromones (Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats) are a gentle but effective way to help them relax during this time. You can buy collars, sprays and plug-ins which release pheromones to help them feel calmer. For these to have the greatest effect, it’s best to start using them earlier rather than later. Your vet will be able to advise you and most will sell these.
When the evenings of fireworks are due to go off, make sure your pets are safely indoors before darkness falls. Lock the cat flap and take dogs for their walks earlier to ensure you are back home before the first ones start going off.
Making a den for your dog is a great idea – any small space will do that they are happy to hunker down in. Cover it over, put their bed, a blanket, favourite toys and a few treats inside and encourage them to rest there. It will help with feelings of anxiety and be a place they feel safe and secure. Let them stay there for as long as they want.
Turn the tv or radio on and close curtains and blinds to disguise the sounds and flashes outside. This will help them to feel like everything is normal for the evening. Try to behave as if nothing is going on outside and give reassuring cuddles when needed.
Don’t forget those pets that live outside, like rabbits and guinea pigs. It can be extremely frightening for them, so it’s important to ensure they are covered over for the evening with a thick blanket (to muffle the sound) and make sure they have plenty of fresh bedding to snuggle into. If possible, move them indoors for the evening if you have the space.
If you have concerns about your pet coping during the fireworks, now is the time to speak to your vet.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.