Fireworks can be annoying to pets, but with a few simple guidelines, you can have a fun festive season with your furry friend.
To find out how to prepare in time for Bonfire Night and New Years Eve, we talk to Lindsay Arliss, a dog behavior and training specialist at Wood Green Pet Charitable Society. Below she shares everything you need to know about keeping your pet comfortable during this year’s fireworks displays.
Q: How do I prepare a puppy for fireworks?
A: Small pets, especially puppies, who have not seen fireworks before will need some exposure to loud noises to help keep them from feeling frightened. Try downloading or streaming the fireworks sounds at a low volume while playing or eating.
This will help them adjust to the noise while they are relaxed or otherwise engaged, and will let them know they have nothing to fear. Changing the audio recording and raising the volume over the course of a few sessions will help them acclimatise.
You can also use this method to help them adjust to other loud sounds such as thunder or heavy traffic.
Q: How can I relieve my older dog’s anxiety about fireworks?
A: If your dog has been afraid of fireworks before, you can try to use the same method above to relieve his fear, although it is important to approach it nicely and slowly.
Start by keeping the volume low and only increasing it when you are sure your dog is concentrating on its food or toys. It is important to make sure that your pet does something they enjoy during this activity, so that they can associate the sounds of fireworks with positive emotions. Your vet can also recommend some home remedies and supplements to relieve symptoms.
Q: What can I do on fireworks day to help my pet feel at ease?
A: I recommend taking your dog out for a walk and feeding him before the fireworks display begins. Blinds should be closed and the television or radio turned on to reduce outside noise and lights.
Watch out for symptoms they fear, such as yawning, licking their lips, shaking, or speeding. If you notice this behavior, it is important to make sure your pet has a place to hide and feels safe.
If they approach you, calmly praise them for being brave, offer them affection and comfort. By giving them a special treat, chewing, playing with them, or conducting a training session, you can help them distract and relieve their panic.
You can also buy one of our products dog or cat calming boxes To help calm your pet during fireworks season. The boxes contain handpicked and expertly recommended soothing products such as high-quality treats, enriched materials and toys. For dogs, the pet sedative supplement is also included. 100 percent of the profits generated are earmarked to fund the vital work of our charitable foundation.
Q: Should I keep my cat indoors during fireworks?
A: It’s a good idea to keep cats indoors on nights when fireworks are planned, just in case they get spooked out of harm’s way. To make them feel safe, pull down the curtains and turn on some background noise and provide them with hiding places and an indoor trash tray. It is better to act as natural as possible and let the cats come to you on their own terms, rather than trying to reassure them.
Q: Do fireworks frighten small pets?
A: Loud explosions and bright flashes also frighten small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. The best way to make them feel safe is to make sure they have a companion – little pets love to live in pairs or groups because it helps to relax.
Before the fireworks begin, it’s a good idea to lock them away safely, so they have time to settle in. Adding extra hiding spaces, bedding, and stimulating treats like food balls or stuffed toilet rolls to their accommodations will help keep them entertained and calm while the fireworks go off.
To pick up a dog or cat calming box, visit woodgreen.shop.
For more helpful tips on pet care, visit woodgreen.org.uk/pet-advice Or call the team at 03003039333.
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