Fireworks Tips for Pets
by Blacks Vets
We are coming up to a scary time of year for many pets… firework season! You humans may think it is cool and exciting to see flashes and hear screams pops and bangs, but for many of us it can be terrifying. We have been working hard to make sure our first fireworks season goes as smoothly as possible, and have been sharing our tips on Blacks Facebook.
We have crates that are our safe space we can always escape to, but moving them away from the patio doors and covering them with a blanket has made them WAY more cool, and feel safer. Many dogs and cats may have other ‘bolt holes’ such as behind the sofa or under the bed. Wherever your pet favours is fine… just make sure your humans keep it accessible… and if you are given treats in it now, then by the time the fireworks are here it will be a natural safe place to hide in. Well, that was Freda’s excuse for getting a tasty kong treat here!
Sounds Scary? Boring!
Our family have been using a FANTASTIC, FREE resource called Sounds Scary from The Dogs Trust. There are hundreds of sounds on there, but we have been listening lots to the fireworks sounds. Mom has them playing in the background while she gets on with stuff. At first we had ears pricked up wondering what was going on. Now though it is B O R I N G and we hardly notice, even though she has been cranking the volume up! If Mom had looked or acted anxious when the sounds were playing, we probably would have been too… but she modelled calm behaviour and we followed suit. When the real things start, it should be ‘same-old, same-old, yaaaawn’.
Timing is everything
If you have late night walkies, or the cat is called in before the humans go to bed, then those things will probably need to happen earlier during fireworks nights. We have started doing those things a little earlier now… so when November is upon us it will not be a sudden shock to the system.
Check the boundaries
Freda can be an escape artist, especially when she smells a rabbit! Our garden is secure now, but our family check it regularly! We recommend you investing a little time in the daylight BEFORE the bangs, to thoroughly check fences, hedges and gates. Us dogs can be unpredictable under stress, and pooches can bolt onto main roads during fireworks displays.
It is now the law to have all dogs microchipped, but there is no point in us being chipped if the contact details are out of date. PLEASE take this reminder to double check your details on the database. Mom and Dad see pets at work who have been rescued, but the owners have changed their mobile numbers or moved house and not got around to changing them. Many chips are with Pet Log, but they may be a different database… dig out your paperwork today and double check. If a loud firework at the wrong time makes us run for cover, we want to make sure we are reunited with our family.
What, no hugs?!
Cannot believe we are advocating this… but sometime cuddles are not the right thing to do!! Do not soothe and reassure your pets if they show anxiety about fireworks. Your job is to demonstrate to us that it is all…yawn…boring and nothing to even think about. If you let us on the sofa / into bed / under your feet etc when you would not normally, or start talking to us in soothing tones, we think there really IS something to be scared of! Don’t show excitement or fear yourself (even if you want to ooh and ahh or panic yourself), just close the curtains, turn the telly up, and show us how to act calm. Let us escape to their chosen hidey hole and demonstrate calm.
Drown it out!
Turn up the telly! Crank up the music! Maybe you can leave the radio on if you won’t be home to us before dark? Close the curtains, and block those fireworks out of your home! If you are watching fireworks in the garden don’t let us pets be infected by the excitement and comings and goings. “It’s all calm around here… nothing to see or fear!”
Deafness is one of the rare treats of doggy old age – our predecessor Duchas here had no idea when there were fireworks!!
A little help from our friends at Blacks
Some dogs and cats have a history of REALLY hating fireworks. While all of our tips can still be very useful, if your pet needs a little extra help, book them in at Blacks quick! There are stress reducing pheromones, and medication that may really make the difference and lead to a calmer autumn in your house. Bert here is ‘modelling’ a plug in pheromone diffuser! These aids all need time to work with your pet though, so don’t leave it to the last minute! Make an appointment now!
Hope all these tips really help you and your pets. If you have other suggestions, please pass them on in the comments!
Love and licks,
Bert and Freda xx