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Fireworks And Your Pets

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

Fireworks Season can be a scary time for our pets with sudden loud noises and lights. Many pets show a lot of fear when fireworks go off - they may only start to pant, or may start to shake or run away and hide. It is possible to help your dog learn to cope with fireworks, but this is a process that takes time and sometimes it is too late to start the desensitisation protocol. As a result, sometimes we have to put emergency measures in place to help our pets cope with this scary time.

Here are some ways you can help your dogs and cats during Fireworks Season: - If your pet is known to be frightened of fireworks then go to your vet. There are medications that can be given to help calm your pets on the night. Pain can also be a contributor to fear of fireworks, particularly in older dogs who were previously fine with fireworks.

- Create a Safe Haven for your pets. Provide high hides for cats and blanket forts or covered crates for dogs. If your pet has a place they usually go to hide, then place their Safe Haven here as this is most likely where they feel the safest. Make sure your pet has 24/7 access to their Safe Haven, even when it isn't Fireworks Season. If your pet is in their Safe Haven then leave them be. - Over the counter diffusers: Adaptil is a pheromone that can be used to help dogs in the Safe Haven, it is a good idea to have a diffuser close to the Safe Haven as early as possible before the Fireworks Season starts. A Feliway Classic diffuser can be plugged in to help your cat find reassurance.

- Make sure any microchip and ID tag details are up to date. Have your dog or cat wear their ID tags, especially if outside, in case they become spooked and bolt by sudden loud noises.

- Go for daytime walks with your dogs. This will avoid the prime time for fireworks. If your dog is likely to bolt at the sound of a firework then still keep your dog on a lead in case one is set off during the day. - Try to minimise noise and lights from outside by closing all windows, blinds and curtains. You can have the TV or radio on as normal. Remember that Classic FM will be playing calming music for pets on Bonfire Night. - Remember, it is okay to reassure your dog if they are looking for it when worried, do not push them away or ignore them. Dogs gather lots of information through physical contact, so if they are leaning against your leg then stay relaxed and calm to show that you are not worried by the fireworks. You can give them a gentle stroke on the chest to help reassure them too. - Don't make a big fuss or cuddle your dog if they come to you when worried. As dogs seek closeness when they are worried, if you are seeking closeness to them (by giving them a cuddle) then there's a risk that they may feel that you are looking for reassurance from them because you are also worried about the fireworks.

You can also help your small pets like rabbits during this time: - Provide hiding spots and plenty of hay or blankets to hide in. - If they are usually kept outside then consider bringing them indoors - it will be a lot quieter for them in the house or garage. - Make use of calming sprays or diffusers such as Pet Remedy. - Ensure enclosures are secure and doors are shut. - Cover hutches with thick blankets to help sound proof them (but make sure there is still good air flow).

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