Fun or fear?
Fireworks can make celebrations exciting for us, but they’re not always quite as much fun for our pets. There are things we can do to help keep them calmer and safer. It’s up to you as their owner to help them cope and make sure their fireworks nights are as easy as they can be.
Does my pet need help coping with fireworks?
Generally, most pets will struggle with fireworks. Animals have acute senses: for them every flash and bang can be unexpected and alarming. Think about how your pet reacts to fireworks; or if you haven’t had them when there’s been fireworks, how they react to loud noises. Do they show any of the following behaviours?
Cats and dogs
- Cowering or hiding behind the sofa
- Trying to run away or escape (this can include digging up the carpet)
- Soiling the house
- Restlessness, e.g. pacing and panting for dogs, and over grooming for cats
- Barking incessantly
If they show any of these signs, your pet might need help coping.
What can I do to help?
Ideally, it’s best to prepare some time in advance. Speak to your vet at least six to twelve weeks in advance. Long term behavioural therapy really needs to be looked at 6 months in advance.
Top ten tips:
- Provide a den or hiding place for your pet whilst fireworks are going off.
- Use a pheromone Diffuser as close to the den or hiding place as possible, or where your pet spends most of its time.
- Ignore fearful behaviour, dogs may pick up on their owners’ anxiety making the problem worse.
- Walk your dog early in the evening before fireworks start.
- Ensure windows, doors and cat flaps remain closed during firework season to both prevent pets escaping and reduce the noise.
- Ensure your cats have access to enough litter trays during firework season especially if you’re keeping them inside.
- Provide distractions, in the form of new toys and chews. Draw curtains and put the TV on to mask any noise.
- DO NOT punish your pet! This will only make your pet more distressed.
- Try not to leave your pets alone when fireworks are going off.
- Speak to your vet or our behaviour nurse Zoe to get more ideas on how to resolve this longer term.