Fireworks are a great way for celebrating events, and can be enormous fun for all of the family. However, one member who may not be so pleased is your pet.
Cats, dogs and horses have no understanding of fireworks. Things such as bright flashes and loud noises may spook animals of even the most relaxed dispositions. This will manifest itself in scared or stressed behaviour such as attempting to run away, toileting in the house, refusing to eat, destructiveness and trembling. It doesn’t have to be this way though and by ignoring the problem, such behaviours can manifest year on year. Thankfully, there are things you can do in the weeks building up to the event to reduce your pet’s distress during this time, and build up their tolerance to loud noises and flashes.
Keeping your Pet Calm
Unfortunately for pet owners, fireworks can be a surprise occurrence during a festivity that you are unaware of.
Here are some of the things you need to consider during special occasions where fireworks are prevalent:
- It may sound obvious, but keep your pet inside or in a stable when the fireworks are going off. Try to soundproof the house or stable as much as you can by closing doors and windows and drawing the curtains.
- Provide some background noise, such as the TV or radio or some music to minimise the sounds outside.
- Don’t leave them alone in the house or stable. Like humans, pets often prefer to seek comfort in company when they’re scared.
Keeping your Dog Calm
- Take your dog for a walk well before the fireworks start. Hopefully this should work off any energy or excitement and make them tired and hopefully calmer.
- Praise your dog when they are calm to reward good behaviour. However, if they are showing signs of being scared, don’t attempt to comfort them. This seems cruel, but pandering to them when they’re scared teaches them that the noises are actually something that they should be scared of, and can make the situation worse. Ignore them unless they are behaving normally.
- If they are showing mild anxiety distract them with a game, never punish your dog is they show signs of fear or are in distress.
- Provide a safe haven for your pet to retreat to if they want to. This may just be their usual bed, but they may appreciate an open crate with blankets and a toy inside, or a pile of blankets under table.
Keeping your Cat Calm
- Cats will usually hide when they are scared – so ensure their favourite hiding place is accessible. Don’t be tempted to coax them out as it’s best to act normal and ignore fearful behaviour.
- Try keep your cat indoors when there are firework displays occurring.
- Provide your feline friend with a litter tray for the whole time the fireworks are on, as they won’t want to go outside to relieve themselves.
- Do not try to pick them up or restrain them. Scared cats prefer to be left alone, and there’s always the risk that they could hurt you if you attempt to cuddle them while they’re stressed.
Keeping your Horse Calm
- Horses are very vulnerable when exposed to fireworks- they will usually blot away.
- Inform yourself of any potential firework displays in your area so you have time to prepare.
- Horses should be in a safe environment and if need be, moved away from any fireworks display to avoid any physical harm they may be prone too.
- Stable windows should be covered and their stable should have food and water available. Adding some distractions like a treat ball may help keep your horse distracted from the fireworks.
- Sharp objects should be moved away in case your horse were to become panicked and potentially injure themselves.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petplan.