Fireworks! Keeping Your Pets Safe and Calm

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Riaz Rhemu

Veterinary Surgeon and co-founder of Tatton Veterinary Practice

Fireworks Pet Safe

Fireworks are a part of celebrations, but for many pets, they can be a source of fear and anxiety. Dogs and cats have sensitive hearing and may become extremely distressed by the loud, sudden noises of fireworks. In this blog, we’ll discuss what pet owners can do to help their four-legged friends cope with the stress of fireworks, whether it’s during specific nights like Bonfire Night or New Years Eve or any other event. By taking a few precautions and following some simple guidelines, you can help your pets stay safe and comfortable during the fireworks season.

Understanding the Problem

Before diving into the strategies for helping your pets cope with fireworks, it’s important to understand why they react the way they do. The loud, unpredictable sounds of fireworks can trigger a fight-or-flight response in animals. Pets may become frightened, anxious, or even try to escape from their homes. To address this, you can take several steps leading up to and during firework displays.

1. Create a Safe Haven

Well before the fireworks begin, it’s essential to provide your pets with a safe and secure space where they can retreat to when they feel overwhelmed. This space should be familiar and comfortable, such as their crate, a cosy room, or their favourite hiding spot. Make sure the area is equipped with their bed, toys, and water to help them feel at ease.

2. Use White Noise or Music

To mask the sound of fireworks, consider playing calming white noise or gentle music. There are even specific playlists and CDs designed for pets, featuring soothing sounds that can help drown out the noise of fireworks.

3. Microchipping and ID Tags

In case your pet does escape during a fireworks display, it’s crucial to ensure they have proper identification. Make sure your pet is microchipped and that their ID tags have your up-to-date contact information. This will increase the chances of reuniting with your pet if they get lost.

4. Do Not Punish or Coddle

It’s natural to want to comfort your pets during a fireworks display, but it’s essential not to reinforce their fear. Avoid scolding them for their anxiety, as this can make the situation worse. Instead, focus on providing a calming presence and positive reinforcement when they show signs of improvement.

5. Keep Them Indoors

On the day of the fireworks event, keep your pets indoors, even if they usually spend time outside. Close all doors and windows to reduce the noise, and draw curtains or blinds to minimize the flashing lights. If your pets need to go outside for a bathroom break, use a leash to ensure their safety.

6. Medication and Calming Aids

For pets with severe anxiety, give us a ring to discuss medication or calming aids. There are prescription medications and over-the-counter products, such as thunder shirts and pheromone diffusers, that can help reduce anxiety in some pets.

7. Exercise and Play

On the day of the fireworks, engage your pets in active play and exercise during the daytime. This will help tire them out and make them more likely to rest when the fireworks start. A tired pet is often a calmer pet.

Fireworks can be an enjoyable part of celebrations for humans, but they can be a nightmare for our furry friends. Understanding their anxiety and taking steps to help them feel safe and comfortable is essential. By providing a safe haven, conditioning in advance, using white noise, staying with them, and following these other tips, you can minimise the stress and fear your pets experience during fireworks displays. Remember, the goal is to ensure that both you and your pets can enjoy the festivities while keeping them safe and calm.

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