Although we use fireworks to celebrate special occasions, such as New Year's Eve, for many pets they are the source of fear and distress. Many animals have much better hearing than humans, which means the loud noises associated with fireworks can cause pain in their ears and great distress. Help your pet cope with fireworks by following our six handy tips.
1. Keep your dog or cat inside during firework displays
Not only will this decrease the sound of the fireworks somewhat, but it will ensure they don’t run away from your property during the display.
Dogs that have noise phobias will often run blindly during fireworks displays, increasing the risk of them becoming lost or even getting hit by a car. Keeping them inside in a quiet part of the house, preferably with the curtains drawn, will help them feel safe and secure.
2. Use distraction techniques
If your pet is particularly afraid of fireworks, consider staying home with them to provide comfort and reassurance. Play with their favourite toy, offer treats for calm behaviour and play music or the TV to provide background noise.
Don’t punish your pet for being afraid of fireworks, as it is a normal reaction and punishment will only make the behaviour worse. It’s best to offer comfort and distraction to your pet instead.
3. Ensure your pet’s microchip details are up-to-date
Even if you keep your pet inside, it’s important to ensure their microchip details are up-to-date in case they escape.
If you have changed phone number or address recently, jump onto your pet’s microchip registry to update your details. It only takes a few minutes and it might just save your pet’s life.
4. Get help early
If you’re concerned about your pet’s reaction to fireworks, or your pet has previously been diagnosed with a noise phobia (e.g. fireworks or thunderstorm phobia), reach out to your veterinarian earlier rather than later.
Treatment options exist for noise phobias and taking preventative steps can greatly minimise fear and stress during firework displays.
5. Take extra care with horses
If you have your horses near town, they might be exposed to fireworks. Horses may bolt when exposed to fireworks, so if possible, securely stable them or remove them away from the firework display.
If you are unable to move them, ensure there are no sharp objects around that might injure them and cover stable windows to hide the light associated with fireworks.
6. Don’t forget smaller pets
Animals like birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets can also become distressed from fireworks. Bring their cages or hutches inside if possible and provide extra bedding or cover their cage with a thick sheet to allow them to hide. Ensure any cage coverings don’t impact ventilation.
Follow these tips and you can enjoy festive fireworks without causing your pet fear, pain or distress.