Whilst us humans gather to watch sparks fly; the loud bangs and flashing lights don’t often create the same festive feels for our pets. Especially for younger animals, the anticipation and uncertainty of fireworks can be very stressful and scary to sit through.
Unfortunately for them, fireworks are a key part of the seasonal celebrations surrounding Halloween, Bonfire night, Diwali and New Year. These explosions of colour and sparkle date back to 200 BC, and show no sign of stopping any time soon.
So, instead of leaving your pet to deal with this alone, you should work to build their confidence in time for firework season. This may seem extreme to some owners, but 50% of pets are reported to fear this period. By preparing your pet now, you can help with their coping skills for future festivities. Here’s what to do to keep your pet calm.
Create a safe haven for your pet
Designating a space where your pet can retreat to will provide comfort in times of distress. We recommend filling this area with their favourite things – toys, puzzles, pet bedding and food and water stations – almost as if they have a little room of their own.
This should be encouraged as a space to relax, rather than an area they’re confined to. If they find themselves limited to one room, it could make them feel trapped and heighten their anxiety. With the sudden booms and blinks of light, the last thing they need is to feel suffocated in a space that’s too small.
In saying this, they also need hiding places within the larger area. It’s all about providing them with options, so they have the choice to roam around or shield away from the noise for added protection.
Invest in calming remedies
There are a number of natural products on the pet market that work to soothe away your pets’ stresses. Our Calming Collar for dogs helps to calm nervous and hyperactive pets, so they can cope better in stressful situations. Containing extracts of valerian and lavandin, our collar uses the ingredients natural calming properties to alleviate any pent-up anxiety your pet is dealing with.
If your pet struggles to get along with a collar, or is a cat, try our Calm-Eze Tablets instead. These natural dietary supplements are ideal for stress-induced events, enriched with essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals to settle anxious pets. For the best results, we recommend using these in conjunction with our Calming Collar.
A pheromone diffuser has similar stress-relieving effects on uneasy pets. Simply dotting a couple around the house in the weeks leading up to firework season will promote a calming presence.
Calming products can be instrumental in helping your pets cope with firework noise, use our find a stockist feature to discover a pet store near you who can help you choose the best product to soothe your companion.
Check your pet’s microchip
It’s called spooky season for a reason, as it often gives our pets a fright. The constant racket coming from the outdoors can trigger their fight-or-flight response, and if they opt for flight, there’s a risk of them running away.
At least if your pet is microchipped, they will be easily identifiable after fleeing the scene. However, this is only helpful if your contact details are up to date so you can be contacted directly upon their discovery.
Choose when to walk your pet wisely
If you know there’s a chance of fireworks that evening, consider bringing the walk forward a few hours.
This is a safety precaution that will reduce your pet’s exposure to fireworks in the flesh. You’d be surprised how much of a noise-cancelling effect bricks and glass can have on the bang of a firework, so plan your walks to protect your pets hearing.
Remember that animals have much more sensitive ears than humans, and often experience noise twice as loud as we do. This explains their skittish reactions and continual efforts to escape loud environments (it’s not them causing trouble!).
Put on some background noise
Particularly if you have plans to leave your pet, make sure to fill the silence with music, TV or radio commentary. Don’t focus too much on the content because it will only be used as a distraction to mask noise coming from outside.
This is only necessary if your pet will be home alone, as the hustle and bustle of a fuller household is usually enough to keep them occupied. We don’t recommend leaving your pet at all, especially if they are young or suffer with anxiety, but we understand that parting ways for the night is sometimes unavoidable.
Assuming you have followed our preparation pointers up until now, your pet should be ready to face the music whether you’re at home or not. The small adjustments you’ll have made to their walking routine, along with the calming extracts flowing from room to room, will have already begun soothing their stresses. Just make sure your pet has clear access to safe spaces, home comforts and food and water on explosive evenings.
Consider bringing enclosures indoors
Cats and dogs are the obvious characters affected by firework season, but our smaller furries can also feel unnerved throughout the autumnal celebrations.
Where possible, it’s safer to bring their hutch indoors. It doesn’t need to be moved into your actual home, but any shelter that provides a solid barrier between them and the outdoors will make a difference.
Protection from a garage or shed will reduce their stress levels by blocking out the noise and intercepting any fallen sparks or shrapnel that could reignite or harm your pet.
You may also want to add some additional bedding and blankets to the hutch, so they have plenty of places to hide and burrow when experiencing moments of fear.
How to spot a distressed pet
Pets display anxiety in a number of ways, but there are a few common behaviours which crop up year on year. These include (but aren’t limited to):
- Abnormally vocal – excessive barking, meowing, squeaking etc.
- Loss of appetite
Put in the work now
Unless your pet is golden or permanently unphased, firework season will probably be a little nerve-wracking for them in parts. As their owner, you must make a conscious effort to desensitise your pet against fireworks well in advance.
No one likes seeing their pet scared or upset. So, by preparing them for what’s to come, you can offer reassurance that, despite the unusual circumstances, they will not come to any harm.
In fact, if you continue to follow our advice, you might even find you and your pet enjoying a cosy night in when Guy Fawkes strikes again!