Preparing for Fireworks – Dogs
- Take your dog for a walk before dusk so that they will not need to go out to the toilet once the fireworks start.
- Feed your dog in the mid to late afternoon, as this can also help them relax.
- At dusk ensure that your dog is safe indoors. Do not leave your dog alone if fireworks are expected
- Provide a safe place your dog can retreat to if they wish but do not shut them in – as long as it is safe allow your dog to find the place they feel most comfortable – this may be with you or it could be under a bed! You can help by providing a safe “den” such as a dog crate / box covered on three sides and with blankets for them to dig into, well in advance of the event. Encourage your dog to use this and make positive associations with the den by putting treats in it.
- Drawing the curtains can stop your dog being startled by flashing lights.
- Playing music or turning up the volume on the television can help to minimise the impact of the sound of the fireworks
- If your dog has never reacted to noises before try not to react to the sound yourself, simply say in a cheerful voice “that was loud” and then try playing a game or doing some training with them to help form a positive association with the fireworks.
- Do not punish your dog for showing fearful behaviour. If they are frightened, then it is OK to comfort then.
- Developed by behaviour vets this online survey can help assess if your pet needs help by following the link below:
My pet was very frightened by fireworks last year – what can I do?
If your pet has previously shown fear of fireworks or other loud noises, please contact your surgery for advice. Sound phobias can be treated. There are medications which can reduce your pet’s anxiety and behaviour modification can change their reaction to the fireworks.
Preparing for Fireworks – Cats
- Ensure your cat is safely indoors before dusk and that all windows, doors and cat flaps are secure.
- Even if your cat does not usually use a litter tray make sure that one is available at this time of year.
- Close the curtains to minimise flashes which could frighten your cat
- Putting on music or turning up the volume on the television can help to mask the sound of fireworks
- If your cat seems quite relaxed, try playing a game or offering some treats to help form positive associations.
- Ensure your cat has suitable safe places to hide if required (cats will often choose to hide in a dark cupboard or under a bed so make sure these places are accessible and also offer a selection of boxes in various locations for your cat) Do not try to move then once they have selected a hiding place.
If your pet should manage to escape in a panic on fireworks night then a microchip could help ensure that you are reunited. This is also a good time to double check with the microchip database that your contact details are all up-to-date.
Small Pets / Birds
- If your pet lives outside, ensure that their cage / aviary is safe and soundproof it as best you can.
- Consider bringing pets inside if possible
- Offer extra bedding for pets to burrow into
Find out about making a den
Check out the PDSA advice as well http://bit.ly/PDSAFireworks
Where can I find help?
Our own vet, Emma Brown, who is qualified in animal behaviour, is available at Harleigh Vets. If you would like to speak to Emma on how to cope with the fireworks season, please give us a call on 01208 72323 for advice or to make an appointment. Or chat it through with any of our staff and they will help arrange for you to talk to her.