In the run up to Bonfire night
Lots of pets, not surprisingly get very anxious and frightened of fireworks – all those loud bangs can be scary.
Here at Deano’s Pet Food, we have put together a little guide to help your pets stay calm and cope with this time of year. .
Symptoms and behaviour which may indicate your pet is anxious:
- Trembling and/or shaking
- Clinging to owners more then usual
- Excessive barking, which is out of the ordinary for your dog
- Cowering and hiding behind furniture
- Trying to run away
- Soiling the house
- Pacing and panting
- Refusing to eat
• Cowering and hiding behind or on top of furniture
• Trying to run away
• Soiling the house
• Refusing to eat
• Stamping hind feet
• Staying motionless
• Trying to escape
Tips to help and prepare your pets if they are displaying the above symptoms:
If you have puppies or kittens, there is lots you can do to prevent them growing up to be scared and anxious of firework season:
- In their first few months gradually introduce them to loud household sounds like the washing machine, TV and vacuum cleaner.
- Use pre-recorded noises for more unusual sounds like fireworks.
- Reward any calm responses and behaviour.
- Building up tolerance to loud, unexpected noises takes time and effort but your patience will be rewarded with calmer pets.
- Introduce different noises slowly, gradually working up the intensity.
- Stay with your pet whilst the loud noises are happening. If they see that you don’t panic, they will get re-assurance from this.
- Reward your pet when there is a loud noise, and they remain calm
- If your pet reacts to loud noises, talk reassuringly to them in a calm voice
Small pets and garden animals can also suffer in the run up to bonfire night with the fireworks. If bringing them indoors isn’t an option, or they’re still scared despite being tucked up inside, there are still things you can do to help them feel safer and less frightened.
Keep your rabbit feeling calm and safe by:
- sound-proofing their hutch and outdoor cages by partly covering them with blankets and put in plenty of bedding – this helps keep noise out and gives them somewhere to hide.
- Turn their hutch to face a wall to limit noise and light – but make sure there is plenty of ventilation.
If you’re having a bonfire in your garden,make sure it is well away from any pets and check it carefully for sleepy hedgehogs and other wildlife immediately before lighting
Planning ahead for when there are Fireworks
GET YOUR PET MICROCHIPPED
If they panic and escape you can be quickly reunited.
Also make sure your dog has their collar and identification tag on, even if they’re only going into the garden.
MAKE A COSY DEN
A safe place to hide, in a cupboard or behind a sofa, can help pets cope with fear.
Pad it with cushions and blankets for soundproofing and give healthy treats and praise when they use it to help build a positive association.
If they are used to going into the den your pet will already think of it as a safe place.
DESENSITISE THEM TO THE NOISE
Desensitisation helps to teach your pet that fireworks won’t cause them any harm.
It’s usually done by playing firework noises very softly at a level your pet is okay with and rewarding them for staying calm, and gradually building up the noise levels over several weeks.
This can be done using your Computer, searching for firework clips or on your TV
MINIMISE THE NOISE on Bonfire Night and the evenings leading up to it
On the night, keep doors, windows and cat flaps closed and shut the curtains.
Play music with repetitive beats and low frequencies which help mask the noise.
Stay calm so that your pets don’t pick up on anything unusual in your behaviour.
If your pet seeks reassurance from you, comfort them in the normal way but think about longer term solutions for times when you’re not there.
If your pet doesn’t normally seek reassurance from you, then try to carry on as normal if they start
LEAVE CATS ALONE
Cats like to be in total control of how they cope with stress.
If they’re hiding, don’t try to tempt them out and don’t pick them up or restrain them.
Let them go to their safe place.