10 top tips to help you cope with fireworks night…..

dog hiding

We have the best 10 top tips to help you cope with fireworks night…

Whether your furry family members have issues with certain noises and end up cowering at the sound of a loud bang or pop.  Or perhaps they have a bit of a tendency to hide themselves under the furniture with all that whooshing going on, these ten tips will help you all feel secure, comfortable and at ease.  All of the celebrations tend to start from the end of October with the Diwali Celebrations- and pretty much go all the way through to the New Year.

You may ask whether your cat or dog seems to get really stressed by fireworks or loud bangs, if this is normal?

Lots of our feline friends and pooch pals will have mild fears in the same way as people do, but they will usually manage without it becoming a phobia.

It’s also worth remembering that just because cats aren’t running around, salivating, or digging holes through a door, that they’re not frightened.  They have a tendency to take themselves away and hide so it’s not a problem to the owners.  

However, sometimes fears do progress to phobias and we then need to try and work out a way to manage the problem.   We have a veterinary behaviouralist who can help you with any further issues.

Dogs

The main signs of a scared dogPuppy blocking its ears and looking up

  • Trembling and shaking
  • Clinging to owners
  • Excessive barking
  • Cowering and hiding behind furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Pacing and panting
  • Refusing to eat

Cats

Signs of a scared catcat hiding

  • Cowering and hiding behind or on top of furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Refusing to eat

Rabbits

Signs of a scared rabbit

  • Stamping hind feet
  • Staying motionless
  • Trying to escape

So the most important thing we recommend is not to leave your preparation until the evening itself, we certainly don’t want you to be in a rush or panic, and nor do we want your pets to encounter any unnecessary stress!

All you have to do is spend a little time in the weeks running up to these events with your pet, getting them used to some slight changes in their routine.  You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make some small adjustments that do not take up too much of your time.

Perfect tips for your dogs and cats:

dog_walk_small1/ Now is the time to start taking your dog for a walk earlier in the evening.   By doing this a couple of weeks before- it eases them in gently to a slight change in their routine. 

2/ For dogs- you can invest in Adaptil plug ins and spray products at least two weeks before fireworks night begins.  Spray onto your pet’s blankets and toys in their den, leaving 15 minutes before you introduce your dog so that the alcohol smell disappears.  Or they could wear and Adaptil collar that fits snugly around their neck.  Adaptil is a synthetic copy of a pheromone reducing anxiety in puppies.

3/ For cats- you can use Feliway plug ins or sprays.  The smell is a synthetic copy of a pheromone. This special scent (odourless to people and other animals) that Feliway utilizes is a replication of the pheromone that cats leave naturally when they are feeling comfortable in their environment.

Check out this great video link that shows you how to apply the sprays within your home so that it is the most effective, and lasts a long time…

4/ Give your dog a big starchy meal the night before the fireworks to help them relax.

5/ Build a safe, dark, comfortable den with their favourite toys, treats and blankets in a quiet place.  Let your pet have access to this den at all times and, for dogs in particular, offer healthy treats and praise when your dog uses it, this will build a positive association with this space. Also leave the door to the room that your pet is spending the majority of the time, open. This creates a space for your pet to come and go freely, so they don’t feel in any way trapped.

Check out this incredibly informative video that shows you how to set up a den, it’s very easy, and it’s well worth taking a few minutes to have a look..

cat stroked 2It also means that they can come and see you for some TLC! With cats make sure their favourite ‘safe place’ is available to them, and try to avoid constantly checking on them if they have chosen to hide there during fireworks.

6/ On the night of the celebrations, shut all doors and windows to keep the noise to a minimum. This is subtle but very effective, and it also creates a buffer between the noise and your pet.  Cover glass doors with blankets to muffle any sounds.  Close curtains to stop block out flashes.

7/ Ensure dogs and cats are micro-chipped so that if they escape from the house, scared and confused, there is a better chance you will be reunited.

dog with headphone
8/
Spend time helping your dog or cat relax with some music or TV.  You’ll be surprised how you will all instantly feel more at ease- and the music will drown out any other noises.

For our feline friends only:

9/ You can bring your cat in a few hours earlier, staggering the times so it’s a bit earlier each time, so that he or she gets used to it.

10/ Shut the flap before the evening draws in (remember the nights will get darker earlier). Also make sure they have a litter tray available, as well as enough food and water and a cosy blanket for them to snuggle into!

 Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds..

hamstersLet’s not forget rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds can all be affected too, and you can really help your pet by ensuring you make them as calm and comfortable as possible. Ideally, bring the hutches inside. If this is not possible, partly cover hutches and other outside cages with blankets so that they have some soundproofing.

Please note that our advice is not a proper substitute for a consultation with a vet, and is only intended as a guide.  Please contact your surgery for advice or treatment if you are worried about the health of your pet.  Even if they’re closed, contact their out of hours emergency clinic.

Streatham Hill Veterinary Surgery
0208 674 3525

Blackheath Veterinary Surgery
0208 858 5151

Mayow Veterinary Surgery
0208 659 4496

Wimbledon Veterinary Surgery
0208 540 7275

The Animal Clinic
0208 319 3033

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