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Fighting the fear of fireworks

Fighting the fear of fireworks

Every year fireworks cause distress and misery for thousands of pets and their owners across the UK.

With celebrations lasting for several weeks and fireworks being more commonly used for oher occasions such as New Year, the problem is getting worse.

DOGS:

What you can do…

  • Create a “den” for your dog to hide in – hiding is a good way of helping your dog to cope with their fear.
  • Plug in a DAP (Adaptil) Diffuser close to the den to create a sense of security.
  • Give your dog a large stodgy carbohydrate-rich meal in the late afternoon on that day. Pasta, mashed potato or overcooked rice are ideal, and will help to make your dog feel calm and sleepy.
  • Play moderately loud rhythmic music with a good beat – this is an effective way to mask the firework noises from outside, so put a hi-fi system in the room and keep the volume at a loud but comfortable level.
  • Make sure your pet is kept in a safe and secure environment at all times so that it doesn’t bolt and escape if a sudden noise occurs. Keep your dog on a lead in public places and make sure that gates, fences and doors are secure.
  • Make sure your dog has been out to the toilet before fireworks start – ideally before it gets dark.
  • Ignore any unwanted behaviour from your dog – praise them for going into their den.
  • Give us a call at the surgery before Bonfire Night – talk to our Behaviour Services team to see how we can help you and your dog further.

Don’t…

  • Get cross with your dog when he is scared, it will only make him more frightened.
  • Try to soothe your dog to relieve his fears, it gives your dog the impression that there is something to be frightened of, and may even reward him for being scared.
  • Make your dog go outside once the fireworks have started – this will only make him more frightened.

If your dog is really frightened of fireworks, don’t suffer in silence, there are many things we can suggest to help. Please give us a call at the surgery on 01525 373329 and we can discuss the available drugs and other products that can help your dog.

Download a PDF version of this article for dog advice only.

CATS:

Cats find loud noises frightening and may bolt if scared. It’s important to protect them:

  • Keep your cats inside when you’re aware of a firework display.
  • Lock the cat flap and provide a litter tray in a quiet corner
  • Use a feliway diffuser in your cat’s favourite place
  • Play moderately loud rhythmic music with a good beat – this is an effective way to mask the firework noises from outside, so put a hi-fi system in the room and keep the volume at a loud but comfortable level.

RABBITS and other small furries:

These pets are very sensitive to loud noises and may bolt. Behaviour changes may include stamping, staying motionless, trying to escape, a change in eating and toileting habits.

  • Bring your hutch inside. If this isn’t possible, partly cover hutches and other outside cages with blankets so that they have some soundproofing
  • Try to soundproof your house — closing windows and drawing curtains
  • Provide some background “white noise” such as the TV, radio or other music — it’s wise to start this in advance of the fireworks starting
  • Make sure hutches and cages contain hiding places and secure areas where your pet can go to feel safe, with plenty of bedding — this will help keep noise out and provide a hiding place
  • Rabbits, in particular, are social animals so try to make sure they’re with someone they’re familiar with

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