Fireworks can be a very distressing thing for pets to deal with, with the combination of loud banging and flashing lights. Many animals have far more acute hearing, than their human companions, making noise more amplified. Here are a few tips, to help to alleviate some of the stress from the situation.
Microchips & ID tags: Check that your pet's microchip details are all up to date, and that dogs wear an ID tag (a legal requirement whilst in a public place), just as a precaution.
Check the exits! Ensure that all windows and doors are securely shut, so that any animals can't escape and get into trouble. Exercise: Ensure that pets receive plenty of suitable exercise and enrichment during the daytime, to encourage them to settle down, in the evening.
Feeding: Provide the pet’s final meal as early as possible, to allow them to fully digest the food and to go to the toilet, before it gets too dark and the commotion begins, as nervousness can cause vomiting or diarrhoea.
Dog Toileting: We'd recommend taking dogs out to the toilet on a lead, even if you think your garden is fully secure, just in case something spooks them. Cat Flaps: As soon as it starts to get dark, shut your cat safely inside with a litter tray, so that they don't need to go outside to go to the toilet. Securely lock and block off any cat flaps.
Inside: Keep pets indoors, with all curtains/blinds closed, and lights on-this will help the flashes to seem less obvious. If this is not possible for pets in outdoor hutches, cover the hutches with tarpaulin, and provide extra nesting materials for additional warmth and protection.
Sound Distractions: Keep a radio or television on, with the volume fairly high, to disguise the loud sounds.
Enrichment & Distracting: Keep pets occupied, with their favourite games, toys, or chews. Kongs are great for this, as well as other interactive food toys, such as the Nina Ottosson range, etc.
Calming Products: Use a calming plug-in at home, such as a herbal based Pet Remedy or pheromone based Adaptil, and they also do sprays for targeting specific areas, such as pet beds, in hutches, as well as for use on dog bandannas, and you can buy pheromone collars. You can also get some calming supplements or remedies which can help, but if your pet really doesn't cope well, talk to your Veterinarian, about what medications they can prescribe. Thunder Shirts are another useful product.
Desensitisation: CD’s are available, with the sounds of fireworks, to allow pets to become used to the sounds, which can be played in the home environment. This work must start well in advance, though, starting at a very low volume, and very gradually turning it up over time, and we highly recommend working with a qualified, positive trainer for support.
Remember, fear is an emotion, and we can't reinforce emotions, so it's completely fine to comfort our pets if that's what they want.