Remember, Remember the 5th of November. The gunpowder, treason and plot…….
Fireworks are enjoyed year-round by people but can be a source of fear for many animals. It is important that as pet owners, we think ahead and prepare for Fireworks season.
Approximately 80% of pets suffer from fear due to fireworks, becoming stressed or anxious. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night celebrations once a year, planning can take the stress out of firework season. Below is a selection of tips to help pets remain calm on Bonfire Night and throughout the firework season.
Keep them in, Keep them Safe – Dogs and Cats
It is important to make your pets feel safe in their own homes. While we “oooooh” and “aaaahhhhh” at the pretty lights and displays, our pets simply don’t understand, so there a few things you can do to keep them safe and secure…
• Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if he or she wants to and has access to this place at all times. For example – Create a den; a covered and snuggly spot for your pets to hide in when things get scary. Just by having somewhere to hide, away from doors and windows and in the same room as the family can make the world of difference. (Dogs prefer low places – Under beds; cats may prefer high/hidden places – tops of wardrobes or inside them etc)
• During firework season, walk dogs during daylight hours. Take them out before it gets dark to reduce the risk of being caught out and about if early fireworks go off. If you can’t avoid night time walkies, go as early as you can and keep your dog on their lead to keep them safe.
• Keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off. Make sure you lock the cat flap and have a litter tray on offer for your felines, this will stop them from being caught outside and being spooked when the pops and bangs start.
• At nightfall close windows and put on music or the television to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks. Be sure to also close your curtains so that the bright colours and flashes don’t startle your pets.
• If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behaviour. Often fussing over them can make their behaviour escalate and cause further distress. Never punish your pet when it’s scared as this will only make things worse in the long run. Instead, stay calm and show your pet there’s nothing to worry about by going about your evening/night as you normally would and behaving normally.
• Most cats like to be left alone to cope when distressed, if they choose to hide it is important to leave them in their hidey holes for as long as they wish.
• Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Keep those doors, windows and pet doors locked!
• Have your pet microchipped in case they do escape. This will help to reunite you with your pets should they bolt out of fear. This can include rabbits too!
• Dogs may benefit from having something do as a distraction. Stuffed treat toys, some training games or interactive puzzles can be a fun way to pass the time.
Plan Ahead – Small Animals
Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Ferrets, and all small animals/birds need to be treated with special care:
• Hutches/cages and enclosures should, if possible, be brought into a quiet room indoors, or into a garage or shed. Make sure there are no cars or paints etc that could give off harmful fumes to your pets if they are in the garage or shed during bonfire season.
• Give your pets plenty of extra bedding to burrow into so they feel safe and secure.
• If you cannot bring your pet’s hutch inside, you should turn its enclosure around so that it faces a wall or fence instead of the open garden. Do remember to turn it back around in the morning though!
• Cover any aviaries or hutches with thick blankets or a duvet to block out the sight of the fireworks and deaden the sound of the bangs, but make sure there is still enough ventilation and air circulation for them.
We at Pets Corner stock a wide variety of calming products to help reduce anxiety for your pet during the firework season. The important thing to remember with all the different calming products available is that every pet is different, so it’s important to find the right one for your individual pet. Pop into your local store and speak to a member of staff, they will be able to guide you through your options and help find the right product for your individual pet.
Most importantly… Don’t leave it too late! Preparing for firework season in advance can go a long way to helping pets with the anxiety that these dazzling displays can cause. Think and plan ahead, your pet will thank you!