Love it or hate it, but the season of fireworks is fast approaching. Starting with Halloween and Diwali, then Guy Fawkes Night in the UK, reminding us that it is time to prepare our pets (and our nerves) to keep them safe and sound.
While these displays can be a lot of fun to watch and fun for local communities, they can also pose a risk to your pet. In the average year, over 30,000 pets are injured or killed by firework explosions. However, pet owners can take steps to reduce their chances of experiencing this heart-wrenching scenario.
The noise and flashing lights of the fireworks season can be frightening, not just for us humans. Pets left alone during the festivities have been known to run away from home in fear, get lost or even hurt themselves trying to escape from such unfamiliar situations. While it is true that certain pets can become distressed by loud noises, there are a few simple steps pet owners can take to ensure their dog or cat stays calm during the festive season.
Dogs with short snouts, like Pugs and Boston Terriers, are especially sensitive to the noise produced by fireworks. High pitched sounds, in particular, will send them scurrying under the bed or into another room. This reaction is often accompanied by whining or barking until the terrifying sounds have passed. If you have a pet that is elderly, sick or has a medical condition, it is probably best to leave them inside during the fireworks display. Senior dogs who have had multiple surgeries are particularly at risk because of their delicate hearing.
The first thing you should do is make sure that your pet has identification tags on at all times, and microchipping can also be very helpful. The tag should have an up-to-date contact number, as well as any other information you want people to know about your pet in case of emergency.
However, we suggest never taking your pet outside during the celebrations. Fireworks may scare your animal and make it run away or hide somewhere where you will have a hard time finding it. Sadly, keeping your pets indoors may not be enough either. It is crucial to protect and comfort them in other ways. Many tablets and calming aids are on the market, such as the For All Dogkind Chew Supplement, which can balance your dog's stress levels during tense situations. It's not just a simple pill but full of vitamins, chamomile, and ginger, making only good for your pup. If in doubt, talk to your vet for recommendations.
We also recommend using an anxiety wrap, such as the Ruff & Tumble drying coat. This doesn't only soak up water and keeps your pup dry but also applies pressure to your dog's torso, causing a calming effect - similar to swaddling a crying infant or hugging a distressed person. Anxiety wraps work by applying gentle pressure over the back and sides of a dog's chest, releasing endorphins that make him feel calmer. This also explains why dogs enjoy being rubbed firmly and slowly. A quick pat on the head makes them more excited because it releases adrenaline rather than endorphins.
Even though cats are known for being independent, they're also susceptible to sound and activity around them. Even one loud bang could set off a chain reaction in your home that leads to chaos. If your cat is stressed, it may react in a variety of ways. Frightened cats might be startled into aggression, run away, or hide in the house. You might notice that your cat acts out of the ordinary, either toileting in the house or excessively grooming themselves.
Aside from keeping your cat inside on the evenings of fireworks, there are a few things you can do to make them feel more at ease.
Cosy up inside, pull in the curtains and try to block all the incoming firework noises out the room. Although cats like to be left alone, perhaps this is the right time for bonding! Build a tent or get a cat cave where your feline friend can feel safe and warm. Cats adore being hidden in darker spots, resting through a noisy night!
It's time to tune in to Spotify! Creating background noise can help to reduce the impact of sudden sounds that come with firework displays. Some types of music, like classical music, can be particularly calming for cats. We highly recommend this cat-soothing playlist (click on image):
If you haven't tried plug-in diffusers, they are great additions to households with anxious cats. Simply plug them in where your cat spends most of its time (your living room, for example), and the pheromones help soothe your cat during stressful times.
Many people are not aware of the fact that they can harm their or their neighbours' pets by using fireworks. The fireworks' noise, sparkle, and smoke could be hazardous for animals (let alone humans!), and people should take all necessary precautions before using them. If you're a pet owner, it's important to be aware of the risks associated when using fireworks. By reading this article and following our advice, you can rest assured that your pets will have a safe and happy holiday season.
For more comprehensive information on common treatments, how to look after and what to do with your pets during the festive season to keep them happy and healthy, visit websites such as RSPCA or don't hesitate to contact the team at 4 Paws.