Bonfire Night can be a pet’s nightmare. Here are some tips on how to keep them calm when the fireworks go off
When the November 5 festivities take place, it may be the first time they’ve done so in your area for a while since the Omicron Covid variant halted several New Year’s shows this past winter. While cases of Covid are on the rise again, vaccinations mean the virus is not affecting daily life as much as it did in 2020 and 2021.
Although fireworks are a huge part of any celebration, the loud flashes and explosions are likely to make it an unsettling and frightening time for our four-legged friends. Dogs, cats, and other popular pets, such as rabbits, are very sensitive to noise and bright lights.
So what can you do to give them the best possible bright night? NationalWorld sought advice from leading vets and charities.
How to keep dogs calm on New Year’s Eve
Most dogs get easily annoyed by fireworks. “Dogs have a hearing sensitivity about four times higher than humans, so loud cracks and crackles of fireworks can be a terrifying and confusing experience for them,” said Gina Kiddy, head of dog behavior at the charity Dogs Trust.
“Fireworks tend to be sudden, bright, and unexpected. This combination can be distressing and have a lasting effect on dogs.” Kiddie gave eight NationalWorld tips for dog owners on how to keep their pups as calm as possible at Bonfire Night:
- Walking your dog during daylight hours It is a good idea to make sure your dog has exercised and has a toilet break before any fireworks displays likely begin.
- Feed your dog before the fireworks start – They may not want to eat during the fireworks
- Make sure your home and garden are safe Some dogs may try to escape if they are afraid
- Provide a safe place to hide Make sure your dog has a secure hole in his favorite room. For example, put a comfortable bed under a table with blankets to make it warm and help with sound insulation
- Explosions and flashes mask – Close the blinds, turn on the lights and turn up the volume on the TV or radio to mask the noise and flashes of the fireworks
- Keep your dog busy Playing games or doing some exercise can help take their mind off the noise
- Reassure and reassure your dog – Try to remain calm and avoid telling your dog, as this may make him more anxious
- let them be If your dog just wants to hide somewhere, it shouldn’t be forced out. Let them stay where they feel safe
Pet emergency care provider Vets Now also recommends speaking to your vet if your dog is particularly sensitive to fireworks displays. Veterinarians can direct you to products, such as sedative collars or medications.
The Dog’s Trust also has sound-based therapy programs that aim to gradually normalize noises that can be frightening to young ones. Since we only have weeks until Bonfire Night 2022, you won’t be able to complete the course before November 5th. However, it may be helpful to start one in an effort to groom your dogs.
What can I do to help my cat on New Years Eve?
According to Vets Now, cats associate loud noises with danger and may panic when flashes and explosions begin nearby. The veterinary service provider said its vets are seeing “hundreds” of felines who have been involved in road traffic accidents due to their dread over fireworks.
As with dogs, sound therapy may be a solution for your cat. Vets Now also recommends speaking to your vet for advice on what to do. Here are some top tips from the company on how best to care for your cat during fireworks:
- Make sure your cat won’t hurt itself Even the quietest of cats can cling to the lid and hurt themselves in the process. It is advisable to make sure that they have access to more than one room to avoid hurting themselves
- Keep it inside – Prevent cats from escaping and avoid leaving them alone at home
- close your curtains Avoid blinking by trying to keep your cat in a windowless area, or by closing the blinds
- Allow access to their favorite Bulthol – Try to avoid constantly checking on them if they choose to hide somewhere
- drowning out noise – Provide background noise from a TV or radio
- act normally It is better to act calmly. If you let go of any worry, your cat might think she should be worrying too
- Don’t tell them It is advised not to yell at your cat if it becomes devastated as a result of distress – this will only annoy your pet even more.
- Provide an indoor trash tray in a convenient location If cats are very anxious, they may avoid visiting the toilet if they feel threatened or frightened. So try to help them maintain their regular routine by placing the litter tray in an easily accessible place
Vets Now says it can be hard to tell if your cat is frustrated because they don’t tend to reveal their emotional state as easily as dogs. Some cats show obvious signs of stress and anxiety. Look for dilated pupils and withdrawn behaviour. You should listen for a low hissing or growl, too.
When cats are frightened, they are also likely to arch and bend their back, push their ears back, and make slow, low movements.
What about my other pets?
It’s not just dogs and cats that can be affected by fireworks. It can also scare away rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and birds from shows. Some even die of fright when fireworks go off near their house. Here are some more tips from Vets Now on how to help the little creatures in your life.
- Bring the cage inside The sound insulation provided by the four walls of your home will help your pet cope. If bringing the cage indoors is not possible, partially cover it with blankets so that they have some sound insulation. But you should make sure that your pet has adequate ventilation
- Soundproof your home by closing the windows and pulling the blinds
- Again, you can introduce normal background noise, such as TV or radio
- Save a lot of bed – This will help your pet feel safe by giving him something to hide in and will also help block out the noise.
- Make sure they are not alone Rabbits in particular are social animals, so try to make sure they are with someone they are familiar with
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