Bonfire night is soon approaching, have you got your fireworks and sparklers ready? What about your thick coat and gloves? You may think you've got everything prepared but have you got anything ready for your pets? In this article we will discuss how your pet may be feeling around fireworks and how to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
So you may be getting excited now for the big local firework display or having your friends and family over for your own little display, however your pet probably isn't feeling the same. Fireworks can be extremely stressful for your pets. Your pet doesn't understand what is going on like you do, if only we could let them know that its nothing to be scared of, unfortunately we just can't but we can try to make the situation as stress free as possible.
During times when fireworks may be going off you should ensure that you can provide your pet somewhere safe for them to hide away. For outdoor pets such as rabbits or guinea pigs consider bringing them inside. Ideally bring them into a quiet room in the house away from any windows. If this is not an options then possible moving them into a semi-indoor space such as an unused garage or shed. If this again is still not an option then you could turn hutches around to face the fence rather than the open garden or cover over their home with a large dark sheet such as a blanket or tarpaulin but make sure they have sufficient ventilation. You can place extra hiding homes into their enclosure as well so they have somewhere safe to go.
Cats can get into all sorts of dangerous situations during firework season so you must be extra careful to keep them safe. Keep your cat indoors over the few days when people will be letting off fireworks to make sure they do not get injured or trapped somewhere trying to get away. Not all cats are happy to be kept inside for long periods so try to keep them entertained with toys, fun feeders and treat puzzles. Make sure they have somewhere they can get away to hide if they want to, such as a cat igloo or a dark quiet room. If you have more than one cat try to provide multiple hiding spots so they can be alone if they want to. Try putting the radio on to help blur out the loud bangs.
Dogs can find fireworks extremely stressful. Again make sure your dog has somewhere they can hide away, try making them a little den with lots of soft blankets and their favourite teddies. If you have multiple dogs then again try to provide multiple hiding spots so they can get away from each other if they want to. When dogs get scared they can sometimes act aggressively towards people and other animals in the house so make sure they have somewhere they can go alone where it is nice and quiet. Keeping the radio on works well for dogs as well. make sure to keep curtains and blinds closed so the flashes don't make as big of an impact in the home. Give your dog lots to do to keep them busy such as treat toys and chews.
If your pet is hiding away do not try to encourage them out or removing them from that spot as they are scared and find that spot safe. Do not tell your pet off for hiding, barking or acting out of character as again they are probably just very scared and don't know how to react in that situation. Reward good behaviour if your pet is being calm, praise them, give them treats and fuss for not reacting. If your pet is especially susceptible to loud noises or bright flashes it may be worth adding in some other methods such as thunder jackets, plug-ins or even calming tablets. You can discuss things like this with your vet.
In conclusion provide your pet with lots of hiding spots, keep their environment quiet and calm, praise them for good behaviour and consult with your vet if you have an concerns. Keep your pet happy while you have fun and stay safe.