Crunchy leaves, hot chocolates and bonfires. Autumn is a wonderful season and with it comes the bright flashing lights and loud bangs of fireworks. Understandably, this can be distressing for our pets and animals.
We can’t cancel firework night, however, we can try and help our pets feel as comfortable and safe as possible in the midst of what can be a very scary time.
- First of all, it is a good idea to walk your pets in the daytime to avoid taking them out in the evenings when fireworks are likely to start.
- Where possible, keep your animals inside the house.
- Closing windows and doors can also make a big difference by dampening the loud sounds from outside.
- For cat owners, it might be a good idea to close off your cat flap to stop them escaping outside and becoming distressed.
- If you are out of the house, turning the TV on can provide a background distraction. Alternatively a rumbling noise, like a tumble dryer, can dampen the sound of the fireworks.
- If you have a dog, you could place an item of your clothing near their bed. The familiar smell can help them to relax.
- Making a den for your pet can provide them with a hiding place. Whether it’s a dog crate or just a space under a bed it can help animals feel a sense of security.
- Calm behaviour can be rewarded. Concentrate on making the environment as relaxing as possible without rewarding anxious behaviour.
- With smaller animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, it is a good idea to bring them indoors. If that’s not possible, consider placing them in a garage or shed. If you are unable to bring them indoors covering their cage with a blanket will reduce the noise and sharp light. Providing them with extra blankets will also give them the option to burrow further down and feel a sense of safety.
- Don’t forget, always check the vicinity for hedgehogs if you’re having your own bonfire or launching fireworks. Hedgehogs often burrow under wood or bushes and can become trapped.
- There are a variety of different options when it comes to helping your pets relax with medication. There are herbal remedies and pheromone therapy. Prescribed medication is also available, you should discuss this option with a vet.
- Herbal remedies can help calm the animal while having less side effects than prescribed medication.
- Pheromone therapy helps calm animals by mimicking the natural pheromones of dogs or cats. These products come in various forms such as sprays, collars, diffusers and even wipes.
If you want to help your pet with their anxiety, book an appointment at the practice as soon as possible in preparation for the fireworks season. You can discuss the different options with a nurse or a vet to ensure your pet receives the most appropriate assistance.