Firework Phobia in Pets

Bonfire night is fast approaching and although for us this is an exciting time of year, the same cannot be said for our pets. Many animals will find the noise and flashes created from fireworks frightening and very stressful. There are several things that can be done to help keep our pets feeling calm and safe during this time. Have a read through our advice and see what you can do help your pet. After all it’s not just for one evening, as fireworks will continue over the holiday season and into the New Year.

There are some easy things you can start with at home, including:

• Make sure all dogs and cats are kept inside, lock your cat flaps and keep all windows and doors tightly shut to prevent pets from escaping. Check that fences and gates remain secure after periods of bad weather and high winds
• Keep curtains drawn and turn up the TV and radio; this will help block out some of the sound and visual effects
• Create a den; our cats and dogs like to hide away to help make themselves feel more secure. Place in their favourite toys and something of yours, the familiar smells will help them feel a little more at ease. You can create this den before the fireworks are due to start so that your pet gets used to it
• Try to act normally! If they want to pace around a little and find new hiding spots let them. The more you stress around them, the more stressed they will become. If you are relaxed it will help them do so too
• It’s also a good time to make sure your pet’s identification details are up to date, just in case they manage to escape. Check your microchip details, collars and tags

It’s not just our cats and dogs that get worried, don’t forget about your smaller pets too:
• This can include our rabbits, guinea pigs, rodents and birds
• If possible hutches/enclosures should be moved out of the open, whether this be a room in the house or just into a shed or garage
• If you are unable to move your pet’s hutch or enclosure cover over with blankets, this will help deaden the noise and block out the sight of the fireworks. You could also turn the opening of the hutch towards the fence/wall so it’s not facing the open garden
• Provide plenty of extra bedding to allow for effective burrowing, this will help them feel a little safer

Sometimes these general precautions aren’t enough for our more nervous animals. There are lots of products on the market designed to help calm and relieve anxiety.

We offer free of charge fireworks clinics with our veterinary nurses where we can advise on which products might be best suited to your pet’s needs and give behavioural tips and advice. You can contact any of our branches to book your free nurse clinic.

Lastly, please spare a thought for our wildlife this firework season! If you’re building bonfires check them before lighting to make sure there are no little friends hibernating inside. Make sure all firework rubbish is disposed of properly; if left around it can become a hazard.

Remember that members of our Healthy Pet Club receive 10% off all goods and services in practice, including pheromone diffusers and calming/anti-anxiety products.