Fireworks season starts in October and lasts into January. A lot of pets aren't fond of sudden loud bangs and flashes of light, especially intermittently over the forthcoming months. This blog will help you put measures in place to reduce pets anxiety levels.
Fireworks night can be traumatic for some pets. It can be months of one off loud noises, along with a few nights of lots of noise. Once they start selling fireworks in the shops, they can be bought for any occasion. Fireworks start going off one by one in October, then Fireworks night in November (lots on weekends either side of the 5th) and then the climax of New Year.
There are a few basic things that owners can do to help their pets, mainly distraction techniques and increasing background noise so the loud bangs are less noticeable.
What Pet Owners Can do to Help
Try and keep to your routines and act as you normally would. If an owner is stressed and running around, the pet will also pick up on this and will find also get stressed.
Keep the Pets in
If you know there are going to be fireworks parties etc, keep your pets in. Some pets won't appreciate this, so it is best to distract them. Don't forget animals can be sneaky getting out, so ensure windows are shut and be careful when external doors are opened.
Make sure they are comfortable with their favourite bed, and if possible, with a human they trust and feel safe with. Let them roam in the house where they normally would, as getting shut in will stress them out too.
Close Off the Outside Noise and Lights
Try and shut out the outside as much as you can. Shut the curtains and put a light on so the bright flashes aren't as observable. Put the television or radio, so this background noise will reduce the shock factor of the fireworks sudden noise.
It is helpful to distract the pets so their minds are busy. I recently wrote an article about how I entertain cats on a visit. If you have a dog, the same techniques can be used - food, treats and toys. Most animals will appreciate having attention!
There is food on the market that is formulated to help calm anxious cats and dogs. I haven't personally tried this food for my pet but it looks like it would be worth a go. (Well it would if my cat didn't get stressed by changes in food.)
Food treats are available which are said to have the effect of calming the animals. I didn't realise these existed until I was looking at the food online so I don't have any experience of if these work.
Medication and Supplement Route
Vets can prescribe medicine to get your pet through the worst of the fireworks nights. This is only a short term, limited measure; it would be better for the animals to tolerate fireworks. Also it is not possible to predict when fireworks are going to happen.
For vets to prescribe medication, they will need to have seen the pet within the last six months and know the pet is in good health. So if you haven't been recently, you would need to make an appointment. The veterinary staff may be able to give advice about stress reducing techniques as well. Definitely worth ringing your own vet if you are concerned.
Feliway is great for reducing stress and anxiety and stress in cats. It is a plug in diffuser and refills need to be replaced monthly. Basically you put it in the room where the cats are most, and happy cat pheromones are released into the environment. Ideally, it should be used a week before it is thought to be needed. Feliway can be expensive but can be bought without a prescription and it is worth shopping around online. Here is one example. A Feliway spray is also available for travel boxes for if cats don't like going to the vets.
I have had personal experience of using Feliway and found it helped immensely. There are now different types of Feliway available such as for cats not getting on with other cats or general problems.
Adaptil is the 'happy hormone' dog version of Feliway. It works in the same way with a plug in diffuser. Again, this can be purchased from vets or various internet shops. Again, it is recommended by vets and has had proven results. If your dog is nervous I would definitely recommend it.
This is a anxiety reducing medicine/supplement that can be bought online without a prescription for cats and dogs. Under advice from my vet, I used it many years ago for our cat with some success. Other medicine of this nature is available such as Anxitane.
Most of this article is aimed at cats and dogs as they are known for exhibiting dislike but the same advice applies to other animals. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian or drop me a line and I will help if I can.