Fireworks are used throughout the year to mark significant seasonal celebrations including Bonfire Night, Halloween, New Year's Eve and Diwali.
Whilst they are enjoyable for humans to watch, pets can often get scared of the loud bangs and bright flashes. Preparing your pet early can make a significant difference and will help your pet cope throughout the seasonal events – start preparing now!
There are several precautions we can put in place to help our pets and to ease their stress when fireworks light up the skies:
- Purchase a pheromone adaptor
Placed throughout the home, a pheromone spray, and/ or adaptor, can help ease your pet's anxiety and stress. A pheromone is a natural chemical which triggers a social response in members of the same species, and often promotes a calming effect.
Please ask your vet for advice on the best one to suit your pet.
- Provide hiding places within your home
Ensure there are plenty of hiding places around the house for your pet, particularly for cats, e.g.:
- Top of the cupboard – make sure it is safe and there's an ample amount of room for them to rest
- Underneath a bed – make a small space, whilst ensuring it is safe
- A raised shelf – clear a space on a bookshelf or on top of a chest of draws
- Inside of a box – you may have an old box in the garage or loft which you can dig out
- Stay at home with your pets
Staying in with your pet will help calm their fears. Your presence and attention will comfort them and distract them from the background noise. If a pet is left alone and becomes stressed, they could become destructive or panic and injure themselves.
- Ensure your pet has access to freshwater
You should ensure your pet has access to freshwater. Anxious dogs can pant more than normal, resulting in a greater thirst.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped
It is important to ensure your pet is microchipped as, if spooked, they could run away. If your pet is already microchipped make sure your contact details are up to date so that you can be reunited if the worst happens.
- Close curtains, blinds, windows, and keep doors closed
Loud bangs and bright flashes can scare pets. By keeping your windows, doors and blinds closed, sounds can be can dampened. Also, if you have a cat and they are in the house, don't forget to lock their cat flap to stop them getting outside.
- Walk your dog early
If you usually take your dog out in the evening, or for a late-night stroll, you should avoid being out when fireworks start – switching up your routine ahead of forthcoming events, so it's not a sudden change, will support this. You should also ensure they are kept on a lead, as startled dogs can run off without warning.
- Consider bringing small animals inside
Loud noises can be stressful for small animals, particularly if they are living in hutches outside. If you have a rabbit or guinea pig, you should consider moving their hutches inside. This could be into the house, shed or garage space. If you are unable to bring them inside, you should consider covering their hutch in some blankets and a waterproof sheet to dampen the noise. If you are covering their hutch, please remember to leave a suitable gap for ventilation.
- Provide bedding for your pet to snuggle in
If you have a small pet, in a hutch, put some additional bedding in with them so that they can burrow into it and hide.
- Don’t punish “bad behaviour”
You should not punish bad behaviour if your pet is scared. Instead, you should stay calm and demonstrate to your pet that there isn't anything to worry about. This will help restore normal behaviour.
For further information, visit the RSPCA website: visit: www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks