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Pets and Fireworks

fireworks
Fireworks are always a big part of the November the 5th celebrations. But not only is bonfire night marked in this way but birthdays, weddings and anniversaries are, too. That's fine if you are a human, but not such fun if you are an animal. For many animals these events are a source of stress and fear. If ignored, the problem tends to get worse over time and can expand to include fear of other loud noises, such as thunder, and even everyday noises such as a door slamming. In fact the weeks leading up to and beyond the 5th November and NewYear are a time to be cautious and do what you can to help your pets cope, the celebrations are not confined to one night only.

Frightened dogPets show varied reactions to firework noise – they can withdraw into themselves and hide, soil in the house, and sometimes become destructive or harm themselves whilst trying to escape from the noise. A dog’s hearing is 10 times more sensitive than a human’s and therefore the loud, unpredictable bangs are cause for a very fearful, stressful reaction. A cat's hearing is one of their most amazing abilities and they hear a much higher frequency than a human does, so fireworks can be a frightening and painful experience.
To successfully manage firework-related stress, it is important to consider the short–term problem, when fireworks will be heard, and to find a long-term solution.

To help a dog you can give them a place where the animal feels in control, a quiet room, perhaps under a table or desk. Train your dog to associate the area with positive experiences eg. by leaving toys there but not imposing yourself at any time. Use a variety of toys and swap them regularly, putting them away when not in use so that your dog doesn't become bored with them. With time your dog can learn that this place is safe and enjoyable and he should have access to this spot at any time. So when fireworks happen it may choose this place because it feels safe and more able to cope. Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if he or she feels the need and has access to this place at all times.
Do not take pets to a firework display.
During firework seasons, walk dogs during the day and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.
Close windows and curtains at night and put on music to muffle the sound of fireworks.
If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behaviour. Leave them alone unless they are likely to harm themselves or want to be comforted.
Never punish or fuss over your pet when it's scared as this will only make things worse in the long run.
Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and cannot escape.
They should be microchipped in case they do escape.
Crating can offer a safe environment for those accustomed to being crated.
Talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers. These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your pet, in some cases your vet may even prescribe medication. Once fireworks season has passed, it’s time to think about long-term control of the problem. Desensitisation has been shown to be an effective way of managing the problem. The Zylkène Sound Desensitisation Programme has been prepared in association with the ‘Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group’ at the University of Bristol.

Frightened cat

Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if it wants to. This may be under some furniture or in a quiet corner and don’t try to tempt your cat out as this will cause it to become more stressed.
Once again a pherenome diffuser can be used and
Zylkene is again another option.

 

 

Small animals should not be forgotten. Hamsters, guinea Pigs, rabbits etc are just as likely to be frightened by the unusual noises. If your pets live outside, think about bringing them indoors, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out through a small space if they feel they want to. Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow into.

Read more about stress in pets here.

Above all, take care of your animals.....


Zylkene

Zylkène is a natural remedy which can help many dogs and cats – follow the instructions and start a few days before fireworks are expected and continue throughout,
it can be used long-term.
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