Although you might be excited at the idea of firing fireworks into the night sky on Bonfire Night, your pets might not be as excited as you are.
The loud fireworks noises can cause every kind of pets – cats, rabbits, dogs and bigger animals like horses – to be terrifed… some to the point of requiring medical help to cope with it.
This is due of the sharper hearing sense of animals, the loud bang noises can not only terrify them, but also cause them pain.
If you wish to spare your furry friend these turmoils, InYourArea.co.uk has listed the best solutions.
Spotting phobias in your pet
While each animal will react differently to its fear, there are some common signs that can be spotted in your pet.
Calder Vets which has 13 practices across Yorkshire, has listed the following eight as the most visible:
- Hiding away (under the table, behind the sofa – this is very common in cats)
- Seeking closer human contact
- Vocalising (Whining, barking or meowing)
- Trembling or shaking
- Not eating
- Pacing and panting
- Soiling the house
- Excessive panting and yawning can indicate that your dog is stressed
Looking after cats and dogs during fireworks
It’s important you keep your dogs inside when fireworks are being let off, to ensure this can happen, walk them, feed them and let them out to the toilet earlier in the day.
Just in case the worst happens, and they make a run for it, make sure they are wearing a collar or ID, even in the house.
Drawing the curtains and putting on the TV quietly may also help your dog stay calm while drowning out the noise.
Here are some quick dos and don’ts to help you through the firework season:
- Provide a ‘den’ for dogs with all their favourite blankets and toys, making it the perfect place to hide.
- Talk to your vet about a pheromone diffuser to provide a calming environment. This can even be plugged in a week before firework to keep the calm atmosphere in your home.
- If you think it’s necessary, talk to your vet about non-prescription calming medications
- Whatever you do, don’t try and drag your pets out from their hiding places , it’s their safe haven and they should be left alone until they are ready to come out.
- Don’t punish your dog, this may make them more anxious and keep them scared longer.
- This is a slightly odd one, but don’t reassure or praise them either, as this would reinforce their fears.
Looking after small pets during fireworks
It’s not just cats and dogs that are affected by the fireworks, families with guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, rabbits and other small animals should also keep an eye on their pets.
It’s advised to bring outdoor hutches and cages indoors, this can either be in a garage or in a quiet room within your house.
If this isn’t possible, give your pet more bedding so they can burrow a little deeper during the fireworks – turning hutches around to face a wall or fence can also provide some comfort.
With birds ‘turning the cage or hutch around’ can be done using a thick blanket to block out the fireworks and drown out the sounds – but make sure they have enough air.
Looking after horses and ponies during fireworks
Fireworks should not be let off near livestock, and anyone planning to do so should warn local liveries and farmers.
For some people, it may be advised to keep your horse elsewhere if you can’t avoid the fireworks, however, it is recommended to keep your horse in a familiar environment if it makes sense to do so.
Someone experienced should stick close to the horse to see if their behaviour changes and if you need to call for help.
You will also need to be careful yourself, if your horse becomes startled, they may cause some damage, they can also sense your unease – so try and remain as calm as possible.