The firework season is just about to start – a time that many pet owners dread. From October through to the New Year fireworks will be going off. Although great to watch, fireworks season is a very stressful and frightening time for many of our pets. Your pet’s distress, caused by the flashes and bangs, may present itself in various ways. Things like shivering, restlessness, chewing, vomiting and hiding are common.
Fear of fireworks and loud noises can be addressed from an early age. Puppies should be exposed to loud noises from birth as part of their socialisation period. Training, however, can be difficult to enforce in dogs that have already learnt to be scared of loud noises.
There are some simple things that you can do to help your pet.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Move cats and dogs to a blackened room in the evening where there are toys. The darkened room helps reduce problems from lights flashing.
- Try to engage your dog in an active game and using some background music will help to distract him.
- Try to ignore fearful behaviour and do not reassure your dog as this will reinforce your dog’s fearful behaviour.
- Speak to your vet about Royal Canin “Calm” diet for your cat or dog. Your vet will be able to advise you if this would be suitable for your pet during the fireworks season.
- Make sure outdoor rabbits/guinea pigs are covered over at night to help block out flashing lights and make them feel more secure.
- Make sure that horses are either put in their stables or make sure that fencing is secure around their field.
There is another aid to help dogs in the form of a plug-in device, very similar to the plug-in air fresheners. When plugged in, the device warms up and gives off a dog appeasing pheromone (Adaptil). This is the same pheromone as that produced by a bitch after whelping which helps to reassure her puppies. The Adaptil has no sedative effect and cannot be detected by humans. A similar diffuser – Feliway – is also available for cats. The Adaptil and Feliway diffusers can be purchased from your vet and it is advisable to install the diffusers as soon as possible before the fireworks start.