This can be a scary time for your animals. Many pets suffer stress or fear as a result of fireworks. Helping your pets reduce the stressful effects of fireworks requires early preparation and planning.
If your pet is stressed you may see the following signs of anxiety:-
Dogs can be particularly anxious about fireworks. They can either freeze, or escape and bolt, or hide under furniture. Attention seeking is also common with behaviours such as whining, pawing and climbing on top of their owners when fireworks are going off outside.
Your dog may have a similar response to hearing thunderstorms during summer.
WHAT TO DO DURING FIREWORKS
Keep your pets inside the house at night. Exercise dogs during the day and make sure cats are inside before dark.
If your pet is going to be left alone at night leave a radio/television on.
To prevent any escapes make sure windows and catflaps are firmly closed. Also close curtains and blinds.
Make a den for your pets to hide in if they are frightened, i.e. behind a sofa. Make a bed for them there and do NOT disturb them when they are in there.
Your own reaction to your pet’s behaviour is important. Try and behave as calmly and as normally as possible. If you cuddle and reassure your pet you will encourage the behaviour they are displaying to continue, whether that is sitting calmly or displaying fear. Therefore, it is very important to IGNORE your pet for displaying signs of fear and only reward calm behaviour.
Ignoring means: –
Do NOT speak to your pet
Do NOT touch your pet – sorry no cuddles this time!
Reward your pet’s calm behaviour with cuddles, games and treats – maybe even buying a new toy or treat.
Bring Rabbits and Guinea pigs inside if possible. If you can’t then cover part of their hutches to help sound proof them and give them extra bedding to hide under.
Thundershirts can also be a help if your pet is anxious. They apply a gentle, constant pressure that can have a calming effect on dogs. They can be useful for storms, separation, travel and other anxieties and there is no training or medication required.
There are prescription drugs that can be used to help with anxiety. Please contact us and we will discuss their suitability for your pet if you think they may be necessary.
Preventing firework fears
When your pet is young there is an opportunity to help to prevent them from becoming anxious about fireworks and other loud noises.
During the first few months of your pets life they should be exposed to a wide variety of noisy things. For example, the hoover, washing machine, hairdryer, lawnmower etc to show them that they are harmless
There are also CD’s, or digital files, that you can play to your pets to get them used to a wide range of scary noises from fireworks to babies crying! Somewhat painful for owners at the time but worth it if you can reduce the effect these sounds will have on your pets!