Fireworks- bringing joy and amazement to adults and kids for years, and that exciting feeling that our kiwi summer is not far away.
But with Guy Fawkes Day fast approaching, we as owners need to take extra care of our furry companions during this terrifying season. SPCAs, shelters and Vet clinics receive dozens of calls at this time of year relating to fireworks issues including; animal injuries, frightened animals, missing pets and occasionally, abuse of animals.
Cats and dogs aren’t the only ones that suffer from the stress and anxiety of this time of year. Our small furry friends and even larger ones have a rough time, so here are some top tips for your pets, great and small, during Fireworks season.
· Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, ferret and birds all need to be treated with special care when fireworks are being let off. These animals are easily frightened.
· Hutches/cages and enclosures should, if possible, be brought into a quiet room indoors, or into a garage or shed. Give your pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe.
· If you cannot bring your pet’s hutch inside, you should turn its enclosure around so that it faces a wall or fence instead of the open garden.
· Cover any aviaries or hutches with thick blankets or a duvet to block out the sight of the fireworks and deaden the sound of the bangs, but make sure there is enough ventilation.
Dogs and Cats
· Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off. Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before the fireworks start
· Close all windows and doors, and block off cat flaps to stop pets escaping and to keep noise to a minimum. Draw the curtains, and if the animals are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on (but not too loudly) in order to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.
· Ensure dogs are wearing some identification, so if they do get out its easier to find them. This is another great reason to think about fitting pets with a microchip, so that if they do run away they have a better chance of being quickly reunited with you.
· Prepare a ‘den’ for your pet where it can feel safe and comfortable – perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes. They may like to hide there when the fireworks start.
· Stay calm, act normally and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s OK to cuddle and stroke your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.
· Avoid leaving your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events. If you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your pet if you find they have been destructive or toileted after being left on its own. Shouting at a frightened pet will only make them more stressed.
· Don’t tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, i.e. outside a shop while you pop inside, or leave them in the garden or in your car. This can cause injury and further distress.
· Never take your dog to a fireworks display. Even if they don’t bark or whimper at the noise, it doesn’t mean they are happy. Excessive panting and yawning can indicate that your dog is stressed.
· Leave your dog something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.
Horses and Ponies
· Fireworks must not be set off near livestock or horses in fields, or close to buildings housing livestock. Anyone planning a firework display in a rural area should warn neighboring farmers in advance.
· Try to make sure that fireworks are never set off near your horse’s field or stable. Tell neighbours and local fireworks display organisers there are horses nearby, so that they can ensure fireworks are set off in the opposite direction and well away from them.
· Keep your horse in a familiar environment, in their normal routine with any companions to make them feel secure. If your horse is usually stabled then keep them stabled. If they are normally out in the field, keep them there as long as it is safe, secure and not near the fireworks display area.
· Ensure that you or someone experienced stays with your horse. If you know your horse reacts badly to loud noises speak to your vet or perhaps consider moving your horse for the night
· Don’t take the risk of riding when you think fireworks might be set off
Remember to be considerate of others pets- if you plan on setting of fireworks, let your neighbors know, so they too can make sure their pets are safe and sound.
There are now a number of products we have in store to keep your pet calm. Thunder Shirts are a fantastic tool to keep your dogs anxiety levels low. We also stock Calmex and Feliway, both are fast acting calming supplements for to help manage stress and anxiety. Come into Pet & Vet for more information and be prepared this summer.
Tags: Pet, Pet Health, Puppy, Elderly, Care, Kitten, Animal Health, Dog, Pet care, Cat, Pet and Vet, Rabbit