How to calm your pet during the fireworks
It’s that time of year again – trick-or-treaters are gone, so fireworks are keeping communities entertained instead. However, the loud bangs and flashing colours of fireworks can frighten cats and dogs.
Unfortunately for our pets, some people begin using fireworks weeks before Bonfire Night, while others continue to use fireworks beyond new year celebrations.
With firework season fast approaching, you can try to help your pet feel more relaxed by following the SOUNDS advice from Joii’s behaviour expert, Heather Thomas.
SOUNDS acronym – actions to calm your pet
Safety: Make sure your pet is safe; gates and doors are locked and shut to prevent any escape. Animals who are worried are more likely to try to run away.
Opinion from a vet for extra support: If your pet suffers from noise issues, be prepared to call a vet for some extra help and support for the worst of firework-filled evenings.
Undo the scary association: Try to create a positive association with the noises that worry your pet – give them something nice to chew instead, to help them relax.
Noise reduction: Close the curtains, close the doors, and drown out the noise of fireworks with the radio – classical music and reggae have been proven to help animals relax. All of these measures can dampen the sound of fireworks, making the situation more bearable for your pet(s).
Dusk indoors: Make sure any planned dog walks are moved to earlier in the day; this is so that your pet is indoors by dusk, to prevent any fireworks worrying them while they are outside.
Safe haven: Create a safe haven and den for your pet to hide away in – you could also plug in an Adaptil or Feliway diffuser nearby, to help them stay calm.
Other ways to help your cat or dog on Bonfire Night
Animal Wellbeing Specialist, Catrin George, shares some of her top tips for helping your pet feel safe this firework season:
Give your pet the space they need
Let your cat or dog pace, whine, or hide if it helps them cope with the night’s noise and lights; these behaviours suggest your pet is searching for safety. Some pets will come to you for comfort – if they do, you’ll need to remain calm and behave as normal, to keep their anxiety levels as low as possible.
Prepare, prepare, prepare!
Start getting your pet ready for firework season well in advance, by using vet-recommended calming supplements. It can take a while for supplements to work though, so it may be worth speaking to your vet ahead of next year’s firework-themed celebrations.
Create a cosy corner
Creating a safe space filled with your pet’s favourite bed, blankets and toys may also help to distract them from the noise made by fireworks. Ideally, your pet’s ‘cosy corner’ should be somewhere they can still see you, yet shouldn’t be set up near a window.
Things to remember
There are some things you’ll need to do that will help to keep your pet safe this firework season:
Make sure they’re microchipped
It’s necessary to get your pet microchipped and keep your contact details up to date. If your pet runs away due to fireworks, once found, they can be scanned for a microchip at a veterinary practice – making it more likely that you’ll be reunited.
Microchipping your pet is especially important during times like Bonfire Night, because loud noises and bright flashes may frighten cats and dogs so much that they bolt in fear.
Making sure your pet is appropriately tagged is essential, too. By including your name, address, and phone number on your pet’s ID tag, there’s a better chance you’ll be reunited if they do manage to escape.
Check for firework debris
After all the fireworks have finished, it’s a good idea to check for firework debris in your garden, local park, and any other areas your pet may visit. The types of litter created by fireworks can cause serious harm to pets (as well as other animals), whether they stand on or swallow firework debris.
Speak to your vet
If you know your pet is likely to struggle to cope with the fireworks this season, why not speak to your vet? Your vet may be able to prescribe calming medication, or suggest calming exercises, that you could try with your cat or dog.
Alternatively, if you’re worried about your pet’s reaction to fireworks, why not talk to a behaviour expert at Joii Pet Care? The behaviour experts at Joii could design a bespoke plan for your family to follow, so everyone can feel a little more relaxed during firework season.