Fireworks Night - Help your pets
With firework night approaching fast here are a few tips to help your cats, dogs, small animals, horses and ponies cope;
Cats and Dogs;
- Build a den! – A den can be used all year round and will provide your dog or cat with a safe haven that they can escape to when they are tired or stressed. A den should remain open so they can come and go as they please and should contain fun things (like their toys) and nice smells (an old item of your clothing/pet remedy). This needs to be in place at the very least 3 weeks BEFORE fireworks begin otherwise they will associate the den with the stress of fireworks and not as a safe place to hide. The den should be large enough that your pet can stand, turn and stretch out comfortably. It should be placed in an area your pet usually likes to hide i.e. behind a sofa and should not be placed near windows. Cats tend to feel safer in higher places (hence why they get stuck in trees!) so this is another important consideration to bear in mind when looking for a ‘den’ location.
- When an animal is frightened they may try to run away, it is important to make sure your pet is micro chipped and that the information linked to the microchip is up to date, this will ensure should your pet escape that you are reunited as quickly as possible. Make sure you do this plenty of time in advance. On the night make sure all doors, windows and cat flaps are shut, close curtains and have the television or radio on (not too loud!) to help dull the sound of fireworks .
- If you are thinking of using any sort of supplement to help your pet cope with the stress of firework season please call us now so that we can discuss the most suitable option for your pet. Some supplements will need to be given days before the expected event/date so please do not hesitate to get in contact.
- Make sure you walk your dog early before fireworks start, lock cats indoors and provide extra litter trays if they are not used to being shut in. NEVER tie a dog up outside, leave in a car or take a dog to a firework display no matter how ok they seem
- If they want to pace, whimper and hide let them, do not punish or over fuss this could make matters worse. Try to act as normal as possible, provide distractions like new toys and let your pet come to you if they want to, don’t try to force them or try to coax them out of their hiding place/den.
- Don’t leave frightened animals home alone or you may come back to a less than perfect house!
- If your pet does become distressed at loud bangs it would be wise to consider long term management of this. This requires at least 6 months preparations before fireworks commence and can be done through ‘sound desensitisation’ – where an animal is gradually exposed to a sound that is increased over time. There are many different ‘sound desensitisation’ programmes but they all require time and effort from you.
Horses and Ponies;
- Fireworks must not be let off near livestock or horses in fields. Try to let neighbours or local event organisers know there are horses nearby so that fireworks are set off in the opposite direction.
- If your horse or pony is usually stabled at night continue to do this, similarly if they are usually left out in a field, just make sure the field is secure and that there are no obvious dangers (i.e. machinery that they may run into).
- Make sure that during a firework show you or someone experienced stays with your horse to observe their behaviour and take any necessary actions. If you are leaving your horse/pony under the care of someone else during this time make sure they are able to contact you easily if they should need to and give them our number....just in case.
- Stay calm! They will pick up on your unease! Don’t put yourself in any unnecessary danger…a startled horse may hurt you without realising.
- If you know your horse or pony reacts particularly badly to fireworks please do get in contact, there are supplements/sedatives that may help!
Small animals (this includes bunnies, guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, mice and birds!);
- If you can bring hutches indoors or into a shed, if this is not an option place a good blanket/duvet over the hutch to offer a little sound proofing, making sure you leave a space for the animal to look out and provide ventilation. Turn hutches to face walls or fencing to dull flashes.
- Offer deep bedding for pets to ‘burrow’ into this will help them to feel safe.
- Cover aviaries with thick blankets/duvets to block out flashes and lessen the noise – be sure that there is adequate ventilation!
For any further advice please phone or call into the practice and speak with one of our vets or nurses who will be happy to help discuss any concerns/queries you have.
Please also consider wildlife at this time of year, remember to check bonfires before lighting them!