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Your Essential Guide to Fireworks Season


It’s that time of year, again. The days become shorter and the months become colder – autumn has arrived.  As we prepare for exciting occasions such as Bonfire Night, many pet parents will know how anxious animals can become when surrounded by loud noises and flashes of light.

Sadly, while we can enjoy watching firework displays, it is common for pets to feel scared and intimidated, which can often lead to a stressful night for both pets and parents.

It is important to be aware of the signs of stressed animals and how best to cope with them, in order to prevent injury or harm to our furry friends.

 

What are the signs of a stressed pet?

 

Specific signs differ for each animal, but there are common ones to look out for:

  • Shaking, trembling
  • Unusual noises, e.g. howling or whining
  • Loss of appetite
  • Temporary loss of bladder control

Dogs can react badly to sounds that are unfamiliar or unsettling, and they often will display some of the signs below:

  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Sweaty paws (that leave marks on the floor)
  • Avoiding eye contact

Cats also become nervous with loud noises and usually tend to hide. Signs to look out for are:

  • Agitation
  • Defensive sounds
  • Clinging
  • Biting

Birds and rabbits display less obvious signs of stress, but it is still important to be aware of them:

  • Ruffled feathers
  • Increased pecking
  • Tense body
  • Rapid breathing

 

How do you deal with anxious pets?

 

Small pets, such as rabbits and hamsters, scare easily:

  • Try to move hutches or cages inside to a quiet room, or to a shed or garage in order to minimise the noise they are exposed to
  • Partially cover hutches with a blanket to deafen the noise
  • Ensure they have extra bedding to burrow in to feel safe

Large pets should be kept inside:

  • Ensure they’re micro-chipped in case they run away and have clear ID tags
  • Close all windows/doors to prevent pets from escaping
  • You can comfort or cuddle your companion but they may prefer to hide if it makes them feel more comfortable
  • You should stay calm as our anxiety is transferred onto our pets
  • Try to give your pet lots of praise, as this is always reassuring

 

Another fantastic way of helping your pet adapt to the firework season is to use Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. They can help comfort your pets and enable them to relax on particularly noisy nights.

By plugging in an Adaptil diffuser or fitting an Adaptil collar, your dog will feel more secure and will help create a calm atmosphere. It works by releasing a synthetic version of the pheromone produced by a mother to reassure her puppies.

Similarly, Feliway is a synthetic version of the feline facial pheromone that is used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. It can help reduce your cat’s stress levels and make it feel reassured.

Some more tips for firework season include:

  • If your pet is used to music, playing classical music could be a good way to soothe them
  • Remove sharp objects from the room
  • Be prepared; try to find out if your neighbours are planning any firework displays or if local schools are hosting Bonfire Night

If you are nervous about how to cope with your pets this firework season, contact your local Medivet practice or pop in for a chat. Your vet will be more than happy to offer more tailored advice on behaviour to ensure your pet is as comfortable and relaxed as possible this season.

To make an enquiry click here or find your local practice