When fireworks are let off sporadically, stress and anxiety can become common amongst cats and dogs. This can continue from October to the New Year and can be an agonising time for pets, as well as their owners.
For a pet affected by loud noises, the fireworks season can be a terrifying time. Common signs that your cat or dog may be stressed include:
- Increased vocalisation
- Hiding under furniture
- Reduced appetite
- Ears pinned back
- Tail lowered or tucked
As a pet owner it’s never nice to see your four-legged friend anxious or stressed. There are, however some positive things that can be done to help keep your pets calm before and during the loud bangs, which include:
Provide a den
This can be an enclosed ‘safe place’ for your pet to hide. Cover the top and all sides of a crate, table or cupboard near the centre of the home, or where they have previously hidden. Make it comfortable. You can even add a jumper or t-shirt of yours that will smell familiar to them. Let them come and go as they please.
During the fireworks stay calm yourself and don’t react to any fireworks that go off, as your pet will react to your stress. Try not to worry and don’t get angry with your pet or over fuss them, just reassure them gently and be as normal and routine as possible.
Keep pets indoors
To prevent extra stress and anxiety for pets, keep them indoors during the fireworks. For cats who like to go outdoors, make sure you place plenty of litter trays around the house, especially by the usual exit points. In multiple cat homes, make sure you have one for each cat. Make sure your dog has had an opportunity to go to the toilet outside well before it gets dark and then keep them inside.
Take your dog for walks in the day
Burn extra energy by taking your dog on longer walks during the day. Avoid walking them at night when fireworks are being set off, try morning or afternoon walks.
Mask the sound of fireworks
Try and mask the sound of fireworks by putting the TV on or playing some music, especially if animals are left home alone. You could also muffle the sound of the fireworks by closing any open windows and the curtains.
Provide your dog or cat with plenty of toys to distract them from the loud noises. Ignore the fireworks yourself and play with them, but don’t force them to.
Stick to your routine
Maintain your routine and try to keep all other routines as normal as possible, such as feeding times. This will help to reduce any stress for your pet.
Prepare in advance
Prepare for next year with advice from your vet or a behaviourist. Consider using nutracalm, which is specifically formulated by vets to naturally calm anxious pets and to help reduce unwanted or unruly behaviour.
If you are worried about your pet during this time, speak to your vet who is best placed to offer advice with regards to your pet’s health needs.