It is that time of year again; a lot of our furry friends become very distressed with fireworks. We as humans understand that the loud bangs are for celebrating and won’t do us harm, but these noises can be terrifying for our animals. Recent studies have shown up to 40% of dogs are scared of fireworks, but it’s not just dogs… Cats and rabbits show signs of anxiety with fireworks too. It’s really important to keep our pets calm during this time – if they run off from being spooked by the noise of a firework dogs can and do actually run into traffic which could be very dangerous.
None of us likes to see our pets suffer, so we’ve put together a few tips to help our beloved animals through this potentially stressful time.
The first thing is to know how to look out for signs of stress in our animals as they display these differently from us and sometimes are reluctant to show us at all!
- Shaking/ increased yawning or panting
- Off food
- Excessive barking
- Destroying toys or other objects
- Pacing or trying to run away
- Urinating or defecating outwith the litter tray
- Off food
- Trying to escape/ runaway
- Thumping hindlimbs
- Freezing or trying to runaway
Seeing our pets in fear can be distressing for both them and us as owners. There are a few things you can do prior to firework displays to help reduce stress and make your animal safe. Firework phobia is a serious, treatable condition and we are here to help. We have lots of options available in our practice, whether that’s a prescribed medication or helpful advice. Our vets are always on hand to give you some tips and tricks if you are concerned about your pet. This shouldn’t have to be a time of year that you and your pet dread!
We’ve put a list together of things you can try at home yourself to mitigate your pet’s stress:
Preparing for fireworks
- Check when and where local firework displays are being held
- Check microchip details are up to date
- Ask neighbours If they are planning to have unofficial firework displays
- Use pheromone plug in or sprays to help reduce anxiety – contact the clinic or make an appointment and we can provide further information about these.
- Make a safe space/ den for your pet. Cats like to be up high so a bed at height with a cover over it is ideal.
- Walk dogs before dusk
- Top up water bowls – stressed animals can become more thirsty
- Shut all doors and windows, lock cat flaps. Close curtains to reduce the stress from flashing lights and dull the noise.
- Have the TV or radio on to help muffle out the bangs and distract your pet
- Try not to act differently around your pet, this can make them more anxious. If your pet seeks reassurance comfort as you would normally and try to stay calm and positive
- Never force your pet out or tell them off for showing anxious behavioural it will only make them more distressed.
Some of the medications we prescribe here and tips for you to try at home can be used for other phobias your pet may have such as travelling, other noise phobias or general anxiety disorders.
If your pet has severe noise phobia please contact the clinic to discuss medication that can be prescribed to help reduce the stress.