Keeping Pets Happy Firework Night
31st October 2018
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Fireworks are pretty and exciting for humans but not for animals who often become distressed and even traumatised. Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, ferrets and birds all suffer when fireworks are being let off.

The loud bangs and flashes often make dogs and cats hide away and display signs of stress by shaking, panting, yawning and salivating.  Dogs may whine or bark and be agitated as their hearing is four times more sensitive than ours, all these signs are telling us to calm them to make them feel secure.

More dogs run away from home at times when fireworks are often let off (bonfire night and New Years Eve) than at any other time, often ending up in a dogs shelter or become lost.

Take steps to avoid pets being upset to start with, you can do this by providing a safe and secure ‘den’ for  your dog to hide away inside your home.  It needs to be a place where your dog feels happy and safe and will want to spend time, this could be in an understairs cupboard with his or her bed inside (and water) with the door left open.  Or an indoor kennel with blankets over the top and inside so your dog can burrow underneath to feel secure.

Some other tips for calming your pet at this scary time for them is:

  • Close the curtains and turn the television or radio on to mask the bangs (but not too loudly)
  • Keep cats inside in the evenings.
  • Walk your dog during the day and before the fireworks start in the evening.
  • Don’t overly fuss them if they are distressed as this will reinforce their worries.  Instead stay calm and act normally.  If stroking your cat or dog helps calm them then fine but if they want to burrow under their bedding then let them.
  • Aviaries should be covered with thick blankets or a duvet to muffle the bangs and flashes but make sure there is sufficient ventilation.
  • Lock cat flaps to stop your cat (or small dog) escaping and make sure all windows and doors are closed.
  • If your cat or dog paces and whines or meows – let them, they are just trying to find a safe place to settle so don’t disturb them.
  • DON’T leave them alone!

Leading up to firework night you could try desensitising your pet by playing a recording specifically for this purpose but be careful not to rush it or you could cause greater behavioural problems.

Try asking your local vet if they can suggest DAP pheromones which provide a synthetic copy of natural appeasing pheromones to help in stressful situations.

Even if your dog doesn’t display obvious signs of distress at the fireworks NEVER take them to a display or leave them outside while fireworks are going off, they are still likely to be stressed and unhappy.

For further help consult the RSPCA.

About the Author

Victoria H

Member since: 11th March 2014

My name is Victoria Hunter and I'm a true Hertford person - I went to school in Hertford and grew up here. I understand the importance of bringing trusted businesses and the community together, and believe...

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