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REMEMBER, REMEMBER fireworks aren't just in November! | Fullyvetted
Firework season is nearly upon us, and unfortunately isn’t confined to just the 5th November. With the celebrations starting at the end of October with Diwali and continuing right through to the New Year, it can be an extremely stressful time for your pet. However, there are some simple changes you can make to help support your pet through the season, and early preparation is key to making a difference.
It is said that approximately 45% of dogs have a fear of fireworks. Some of these signs may include:
- Trembling/ shaking
- Being clingy
- Barking excessively
- Cowering and hiding
- Trying to run away
- Soiling the house
- Pacing and panting
- Refusing to eat
Unlike dogs, who give obvious behavioural signs to their owner when they need something, cats are far more discrete and complex in showing that they are in distress. However some signs may include:
- Hiding away
- Excess meowing
Things you can do to prepare:
- Build them a safe place, somewhere up high for cats, and a snug den for dogs
- Use a FELIWAY diffuser (for cats) or an ADAPTIL diffuser (for dogs) – plug this in 2 weeks before you expect the fireworks – this will help create a calm atmosphere before the fireworks begin. Keep these plugged in until after New Year.
- Ensure your pet is wearing a tag and is microchipped incase they decide to disappear.
- Try to walk your dog when it is still light as fireworks tend to begin as soon as the sun goes down.
- Make sure your cat has easy access to a litter tray
On the night:
- Close all windows, doors and curtains.
- Lock your cat flap – this will ensure your cat isn’t able to run away if they become scared.
- Distract them – give your pet a chew, a toy or play a game with them.
- Turn on the TV or play music to muffle the sound of the fireworks.
- If your pet runs and hides under or behind furniture, then let them stay there as it will make them feel safe and secure. Do not try and force them out from their ‘safe-space’ as this could confuse them or cause them further distress.
Don’t forget smaller animals!
- Ideally, bring the hutch inside. If this is not possible, partly cover hutches and other outside cages with blankets so that they have some soundproofing.
- Make sure hutches and cages contain hiding places where they can go to feel safe, with plenty of bedding – this will help keep noise out and provide a hiding place.
- It goes without saying…always check underneath a bonfire before lighting as hedgehogs may be hibernating there!
Exposing puppies to many different stimuli during their socialisation period can help prevent fears in adult life. Playing a sound CD during this period whilst treating them with extra tasty goodies will create a positive association between the loud noises and the treats. You could also try a new and novel toy to engage your pet which will hopefully prove a good distraction and create a positive association.
Long term support
In the long term, desensitisation and counter conditioning have been shown to be safe and effective methods for treating sound sensitivities, these methods need to be implemented a while before firework season is due to start. Try playing a sound CD with firework noises or firework sound videos on Youtube at a low level to let your pet get used to the sound in the background, giving plenty of treats and praise so they associate these noises with a positive experience! Start the sound clip off quietly, and over a period of sessions very gradually increase the noise volume.
FIREWORKS AND LOUD NOISES= TREATS AND PRAISE!!!
Check out these useful links for more hints and tips:
If you would like any other advice on how to help your furry friend throughout the firework season please pop in to see us or give us a call, we would be happy to help.