Firework season is approaching and sadly our furry friends aren’t usually such big fans of fireworks. It has been found that around 62% of dogs and 54% of cats show signs of distress during fireworks. Small furries such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, gerbils, ferrets and birds can also be affected by fireworks.
Wildlife like hedgehogs are at risk of being burnt – check bonfires thoroughly, or ideally move them before setting alight.
Dates when fireworks can be purchased by the general population include 15th October to 10th November and 26th December to 31st December. Don’t forget bonfire night falls on Friday the 5th of November!
We sadly can’t stop fireworks from happening, but here are a few tips to help our furry friends during this stressful season :
- Make sure they have been taken out for a walk earlier in the day before the fireworks start. Never take your dog out during a firework display.
- Close all windows and doors.
- Try to avoid leaving them alone.
- Don’t try and stop them from hiding or pacing. This is their way of finding safety.
- Act normally while giving calm vocal praises to help ease their stress.
- If they are used to the TV being on, leave it on to help muffle the sound of the fireworks slightly. Make sure it isn’t too loud.
- By law your dog should be wearing a collar with an ID tag on at all times and microchipped but makes sure the details on the tag and microchip are correct and that the collar is correctly fitted.
- Provide a safe space for them where they have the possibility to hide.
- Add pheromone-based diffuser to help create a calming environment – Adaptil.
Although too late for this year you can help prepare your dog for the future by doing sound therapy. The Dog’s Trust has a very well explained article with sounds to help you slowly desensitise your dog to sounds: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets.
- Get your cat microchipped or check your details are correct if they already are. This will give you the best chance of being reunited with your cat if they ever get lost.
- Make sure your cat stays inside for the night and block any cat flaps off; by doing this you will also muffle the sound of the fireworks. Ensure litter trays are provided.
- Allow them to hide and/or pace. Don’t try to coax them out of their hiding place.
- Act normally and let them know that is ok by giving gentle vocal praise.
- Add pheromone-based diffuser to help create a calming environment – Feliway.
- Make sure that hutches/cages are inside for the night and that they are securely closed.
- Give them extra bedding to allow them to burrow if they wish to.
- Cover any aviaries with a thick blanket making sure that there is still ventilation.
- Draw the curtains to block out lights.
- Make sure all doors and windows are closed properly.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this subject further, please do not hesitate to call or email us! We would be happy to help make this time as stress free as possible for you and your pet!
Ines Pearson, Student Veterinary Nurse at Greenbay Vets