fireworks! keep calm!

Just for pets Fire works dog

 

Over the holidays many celebrations involve fireworks. Unfortunately, the loud firework displays can cause much anxiety with our pets who can react with instinct to try and escape the noise.

 

DOGS

Dogs in particular are partial to trying to run away, they are resourceful, and where a fence would normally keep your dog contained, he may feel compelled to dig right under it! Fear is often displayed by hiding, whining, barking, pawing or even urination. Trying to help your dog cope with their phobia is important as it usually becomes progressively worse as they age. So here are some tips to help you and your pet have a safe and calm holiday season.

  • Exercise your dog prior to when the fireworks are due to start
  • Avoid fussing over your pet and feeding his anxiety. Let your dog spend time with you and be calm in his presence. You can engage him in normal play if he is calm.
  • Create a comfortable hiding place your dog can feel safe, and seek refuge. Your dog chooses a space such as this because the sound of the fireworks is muffled. You can place treats in the area to encourage your dog to go there.
  • Play some soft music or the TV to help mask the fireworks noise
  • Dogs who panic can choke themselves on a collar or lead, so never tether your dog during these times and never use a choke chain to restrain your dog.
  • Direct supervision is important to help prevent injury or escape. If you cannot supervise your dog on the night consider making alternative arrangements so your dog will be supervised by a responsible person or consider boarding your dog so they will be safe.
  • It is important not to punish your dog for being anxious, as this will just create more fear and anxiety because fireworks will then be associated with both fear and punishment
  • It is equally important not to cuddle too much, you may think it is comforting, but it is not a good idea because it teaches your dog that anxious behaviour is appropriate.
  • There are several therapies available for management of stress and anxiety for dogs such as Adaptil and Thundershirts. Discuss your options with your local Just For Pets store.

CATS AND SMALL ANIMALS

It is not uncommon for a cat to be afraid of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks. Cats should be kept indoors during fireworks displays. Typically a cat will naturally find somewhere secure to hide, though it is always a good idea to provide a location in a closed off/safe area your cat can go to that muffles the sound of the noise such as a rounded cat tree, igloo bed etc. All other small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs should be kept in their housing during fireworks. The following tips will help your pet feel safe this celebratory season.

  • Staying calm will help your cat feel safe.
  • Try to play with your cat to distract her from the noise of fireworks.
  • Do not encourage fearful behavior by over comforting her, do not try to restrain or pick her up.
  • If your cat hides under furniture or ontop of the cupboards, leave her alone, and don’t try to coax her out. This ‘hidey hole’ is where she feels secure.
  • Plugging a Feliway Diffuser in the room where the cat spends most of her time will help increase her sense of security
  • Ensure a litter tray is available at all times
  • Try your best not to go out while the fireworks are going off.  Go about your business as normal and stay calm.
  • Make sure your cat is safely inside before the festivities begin, windows, doors and cat doors are secure.
  • Closing the curtains and playing music/tv on a low volume will help to mask the noise of the fireworks

Frightened and confused animals are can easily go missing if they escape, wander and become lost. It is essential your cat or dog is micro-chipped and your details are up to date on the microchip register in your state.