Many of our pets can struggle with the noise and flashing lights from fireworks, including rabbits and guinea pigs as well as dogs and cats.
There are many ways we can help our furry friends deal with firework phobia and the earlier we start preparing the better.
Here is an outline of our tips for firework season preparation
- Be prepared – In recent years fireworks have become more widespread than organised displays. Take note of any displays local to you but also be prepared that neighbours may have fireworks during the end of October and early November. The same things can be needed during New Year celebrations
- Keep pets indoors – Walk dogs before dusk and keep cats inside before dark. Bring small pets inside or into garages/shed if possible. Make sure cats have a litter tray available.
- Keep the effects of the fireworks outside – Close curtains to keep out the flashing lights and play music or have the television on to reduce the impact of the noise
- Help them settle for the evening – feeding your pet late afternoon can help them feel sleepy into the evening
- Creating a refuge – Provide a safe area such as a covered crate or box with blankets for them to dig in. Get them used to this area for a few days before the firework season and give them treats in there to help them understand it is a good place for them. Extra bedding in an upturned cardboard box can be a good hiding place for small pets
- Keep yourself calm – If your animal has never reacted previously try not to anticipate a problem as they can pick up on this. Offer treats, play games or do some training with them as a positive distraction. Comforting your pet is ok but if they want to hide don’t try to get them out of their safe place. Don’t punish any fearful behaviour
- Appeasing Pheromones – Diffusers in the home can have a calming effect on some pets. For the best effect try to use these for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the firework season. Pheromone collars and sprays are also available.
- Calming Remedies – Herbal calming remedies can help reduce stress in some pets around firework night. As with the pheromones they are often better started before the event
- Medications – Some dogs that have suffered from previous firework phobia may benefit from medications that reduce anxiety. If you think your pet may need this please come and talk to us in advance as they may need a check up first and a test dose will need to be given beforehand to check for any side effects.
We have a wide selection of advice literature in the surgery so please feel free to pop in to collect this or chat with our staff about your concerns.