With fireworks season approaching, it is important to know how to protect your pets to prevent them from getting spooked. That is why we have created some top tips for cats, dogs and rabbits to help them feel safe and secure during this popular season.
How can I tell if my cat is stressed by fireworks?
You may already find it easy to tell if your cat is stressed. Their behaviour will likely change, and they may become more withdrawn. They may start to groom themselves excessively or their eating habits may change. You may find they run away and hide, or start pacing and circling, becoming more restless and possibly snappy with you.
There are many things that you can try to do to keep your cat stress free during this season.
Five things that can calm your cat
- Create a cosy cat cave – This can be brilliant for your cat especially if they are really frightened of the fireworks. A small place to hide in will comfort your cat and make them feel safe and protected. This may be a corner of the room, an open bedding cupboard or even a cardboard box with blankets inside.
- Keep them indoors with the curtains closed – It’s not just the loud noises than can frighten your cat. The flashing lights of fireworks can be scary too. Closing the curtains can take away these flashing lights and can help your cat stay calm. If you have a cat flap it may be worth closing that off too so they can’t dart outside and become lost if something spooks them. Make sure you don’t keep them confined inside though. Ensure they have access to all areas of your home, so they don’t feel trapped and ultimately more stressed.
- Background noise – Background noise like music or keeping the television on can be helpful in reducing the sudden loud bangs of fireworks. This could distract your cat from the firework display and help with keeping them calm.
- Reduce anxiety with a pheromone plug in diffuser – A pheromone diffuser is a brilliant way to reduce anxiety. It is recommended to start using something a few weeks before fireworks and place it in a room where your cat spends most their time.
- New toys and games – A new toy, or even something yummy for them to eat, can be a nice little treat for them during frightening times as it can provide a distraction for them.
If your cat is still frightened despite trying our tips, a visit to your vet may be the best option. They may be able to refer you to a professional behaviourist, who can assist in reducing your cats stress and anxiety.
Did you know?
Approximately 45 percent of dogs in the UK are fearful of fireworks, so it is important to know how to keep them safe and calm throughout the firework season. You should aim to train your dog to be less fearful of loud noises as they grow up, so learning how to prepare them early will help them in the long term.
Five things that can calm your dog
- Doggy Den – A quiet area where your dog can feel safe is a great haven for your dog. You may find it helpful to train your dog to associate this area with fun and positivity, so leaving their toys in there would be a good start. An exciting variety of chew toys will ensure your dog is always intrigued by their safe area. Always make sure your dog has access to their doggy den even when you’re not home.
- Walk them during the day – As the nights draw in you may choose to walk your dog earlier in the day. During fireworks walking them during lighter hours will ensure you don’t risk being outside when the sudden bangs are going off. This will also reduce the risk of your dog bolting off in fright.
- Mask and muffle the loud noises – Make sure you close your windows and curtains as soon as it starts to get dark. Let your dog play outside beforehand so that you can comfortably keep them inside once the darkness hits. Keep background noise going at all times, such as the television or some music, to muffle the noise of fireworks.
- Provide a pheromone diffuser – It is worth grabbing a pheromone diffuser as these are brilliant to calm your animal. These disperse calming chemicals into the room to help them feel safe and secure and in control. Make sure to put the diffuser in the same room as your doggy’s den and in any other rooms your dogs spends a lot of their time.
- A yummy treat – Giving your dog a delicious treat will make them feel special and can distract their attention from the flashing lights and sudden bangs of fireworks.
It is so important to remember to microchip your all your pets as well. That way if they were to become lost or go missing, there is a chance they will be reunited with you. Of course, it’s the law in the UK to make sure your dogs are microchipped, but now’s the perfect time to make sure your cat or bunny is also protected.
Rabbits and other small animals
If you have a rabbit or a small pet that lives in the garden, it is important to know how to look after these too.
Three things that can help your rabbit
- Cover their home with blankets – If your small pet lives outside, you can try covering their cages or pens with blankets. Don’t cover them completely, but ensure they are mostly covered from the flashing lights. Make sure they can still peep out though to prevent them from stressing out further.
- Provide extra bedding – Giving them extra bedding will provide them with something to burrow in if need be. This will make them feel safe and secure.
- Consider bringing them inside – If you’re able to, it could be an idea to bring them inside. Don’t rush into this though as they may need to adapt to their surroundings. A few weeks before fireworks season gradually bring them inside a few days a week to help them settle in time for the season.
If you require any further information on making fireworks less frightening for your pets, you can contact your local vet directly, or contact us on 0800 050 2022.
Alternatively, you can read more information on how to keep your pets secure here.