Keep Your Pet Happy This Fireworks Season
Although we may be looking forward to enjoying the fireworks on bonfire night this year, the sudden bangs and flashes of light can be a major ordeal for our animals.
Read our advice on ways to reduce the stress caused to your dogs, cats and horses by fireworks.
Keeping your dog calm during fireworks
There are some simple steps that you can take to help your dog or puppy feel more secure during fireworks. Planning ahead is key for dogs. Provide your dog with a safe haven, somewhere quiet where he or she feels in control and don’t interfere while your dog is relaxing there. Train them to associate the area with positive experiences.
Walk and feed your dog before dark and when the fireworks start, encourage your dog to play in their safe area and provide toys and other things they enjoy. Close the curtains in this room to reduce the flashing lights and keep the television on or play music to muffle the sound of the fireworks. Make sure you ignore the firework noises yourself. If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises, you could keep the two together during the evenings to help your dog realise there is no need to be afraid.
Consider playing CDs with firework sounds to train your dog to become less scared. Start off very quietly and gradually build up the noise. There are also various therapy packs for dogs which include sound recordings and information.
Coping with cats and fireworks
Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide at all times and try and keep your cats indoors during the evening of bonfire night. As with dogs, try and muffle the sound by watching television or playing music and keep the curtains shut. If your cat is stressed about fireworks you could also try plugging in a Feliway-Diffuser a week prior to fireworks night.
When cats are scared they may prefer to left alone so try not to pick them up or restrain them. Ignore any fearful behaviour and try not to fuss them. If your cat does retreat to a bolthole on top of cupboard or under a sofa for example, do not try and coax them out as this is where he or she feels most secure.
Limit the effect of fireworks on your horse
Every horse will respond differently to fireworks but generally, fireworks will startle these flight animals. However, there are some simple steps that will help reduce the stress caused to your horse by fireworks.
It may be helpful to try and desensitise your horse to loud bangs and in the same way as dogs and cats, CDs that can be played at low level and gradually built up can help your horse become comfortable with the noise.
Make sure you have contact details for all the horse owners at your yard and your vet should any problems arise and make preparations to secure your yard just in case a horse does manage to break out of a stable or field. Ensure they cannot get onto any public highways.
Try to keep things as normal as possible for your horse so it feels secure and if you can, ensure an experienced person keeps an eye on your horse until the fireworks have ended. Take care if the horse is startled. If your horse is kept in a barn or enclosed stable area it may be possible to limit the effect of fireworks by keeping barn doors closed and keeping the lights on.
Hopefully this information will prove useful in preparing your pet for the fireworks season. If you know that the fireworks are likely to cause extreme stress to your pet, please consult your vet for further advice.