For humans, fireworks are a magical way of celebrating a special day. For animals, they can be incredibly scary and confusing!
Firework fear can affect many pets. In a study by the RSPCA, results showed 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.
What can you do to help during fireworks?
Although you can’t prevent them being scared entirely, you can take steps to help your pets. Here are a few guidelines on how to make the situation less frightening:
Dogs and cats
1.Walk your pet in daylight hours
If you know that firework season is approaching, or you are aware of an event in the area, walk your dog in daylight hours instead. After this, keep your pet indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.
2. Give them a secure hiding place
You need to secure the house so that your pet can’t escape if they feel scared, but this doesn’t mean that they won’t try to hide. You can set up a quiet corner, complete with pillows or bedding. Another idea is to place clothes that you have worn in the little den. This will bring them a sense of comfort.
3. Muffle the sound
Make sure all doors and windows are closed, and put on the TV or radio to cover the outdoor noise. Curtains should be closed, reducing flashes and muffling the sound further.
4. Use toys
You can distract your pet with cuddles, toys and general playing. You can also reward them for good behaviour, this works especially well with dogs.
5. Listen to your pet
If your pet is anxious, comfort them. It is possible to transmit your anxiousness to your pet though, so do not over comfort and try to act normal.
If they are hiding, you should leave them in peace. Don’t try to lure them out of their little nook or cranny if they wish to be alone (as long as they are safe!).
6. Don’t punish them for anxiety
If your pet feels anxious, they may display behaviour you don’t like. Do not punish them for this as you will make the situation worse.
1. Cover their hutch/cage
You can put a blanket over any outdoor enclosures for smaller pets. They should still be able to see out, but the noise will be muffled and the blanket will provide an extra sense of security.
2. Give them extra bedding
Small animals may wish to burrow when they feel scared. You can provide extra bedding and blankets for comfort.
If your pet is extremely anxious and scared, you can seek help from your vet who may refer you to a behaviour specialist. There are a variety of techniques you can use in advance to calm your pet down, and they will talk you through this.
Dog’s Trust in the UK have partnered with vets to develop a free programme that desensitises your dog to unusual sounds. This is especially good for puppies, and they also have a range of soothing sounds to help your dog cope in stressful situations.
Finally, you could consider a pheromone diffuser for your cat, such as the FELIWAY® model. These have a calming effect, but need to be purchased beforehand.
Is your pet scared of fireworks?