It’s that time of year, where loud bangs and pretty displays in the sky can cause terror and stress amongst our pets. With the correct amount of preparation, there is a lot you can do to make this a less stressful time for your fur babies.
Bertie, my dog used to be petrified of any loud bangs, especially fireworks but by putting in the time and effort, I can now relax, knowing that he is chilled out and accepting of fireworks.
Preparation is key with the firework season, especially as nowadays it can go on for a few months, let alone the odd night. There are many things you can do to help your pet through but these do need to be started in advance of the firework season.
What can I do before firework night?
Making a den/safe place for your pet
- Introducing a den of some sort can be a really helpful thing for your pet as it creates a place of his or her own which is dark and is somewhere they can hide. This can be made either with a dog crate covered with a thick blanket in a quiet area of the house or by using a table or somewhere you can cover and make dark. It’s all about getting creative! When introducing an area unfamiliar to your pet, you want to do this slowly, with lots of rewards such as treats or toys.
What do I do when firework time arrives?
Walk and Dinner
- Arrange to have a long walk with your pet during the day, before it gets dark and then give dinner early so that they have a chance to go out and toilet before it gets dark. Reducing the risk of them becoming spooked if they go out in the dark and a firework going off. Once they have been out, they should be fine then until the following morning.
- Never arrange to go out and leave your pet unsupervised with fireworks, as they can become stressed and may cause harm to themselves.
- Always remain calm with your pet, try not to worry that they will become stressed as they will pick up on this and it could make them worse. Try to act as normal and stick in a normal routine as much as possible
- Turn the TV up slightly louder than normal to help drown out the sound of fireworks from outside
- Close the curtains or the blinds. If you don’t have curtains, try to block out windows and doors with a heavy blanket or a sheet to help drown out the noise or the lights from the fireworks outside.
- Most importantly, try not to reinforce your pet's behaviour when they are stressing by over fussing and potentially making them worse in the future. Instead, when they are being calm and ignoring what is going on around them, start playing a game such as fetch, or introduce a treat or chew that will keep them busy, and if needed provide gentle calm reassurance. This can be the hardest part as often you will feel stressed too and your pet can pick up on this.
As a last resort, the vets can prescribe different sedative treatments for your pets but we try to avoid these where possible due to the side effects that come along side them.
For more information, please pop in and speak to one of the nurses or the vets and remember preparation is the key to having a happier pet throughout firework season.