Fireworks can be a source of fear for many animals and pets. It is natural for a dog or a cat to be scared of loud noises and unfamiliar sights and sounds. Most fireworks make some kind of loud bang and these sounds naturally startle dogs, especially since they have a more acute sense of hearing than humans. These loud and unexpected sounds for many dogs will be perceived as a threat, which triggers their “flight” response. They may even show signs of anxiety and restlessness, like panting, whining, shaking and pacing.
With a little planning ahead you can help your pet cope with the firework season.
Create a quiet, safe space for your dog where they will feel comfortable and in control. By providing a den or a hiding place they can retreat to ahead of the firework season, means they will be used to this safe place when the time arrives.
Walk your dog before it gets dark as this will reduce the chances of your dog being outside when fireworks are let off. Keep them on the lead at all times.
A calming, comforting presence can make all the difference for our dogs. Stay close to them in their safe place and if they become distressed you can comfort and reassure them. Don’t try to tempt them out of their safe place, as this will make them more stressed.
Do ensure your dog cannot escape. Shut all door and windows and close the curtains. This will block out any scary flashes of light and help to muffle the sound of the fireworks. If you need to answer the door, shut your dog safely in a room, before opening the front door.
Put on some music or the TV to help mask the firework sounds.
Keep a collar and ID tag on your dog, just in case they do accidentally escape. Make sure your dog is microchipped (now a legal requirement) so that they can be reunited with you as quickly as possible.
Provide distractions, such as a favourite treat, whilst the fireworks are being let off.
Try to act and behave as normal, your usual habits will help your dog feel settled. Reward calm behaviour with a treat or a new toy.
Remember to top up the water bowl. Anxious dog’s will pant more and get thirsty.
Start to use Trophy Easy Going Herbs. This herbal blend is reputed to have specific calming and soothing properties which can be very beneficial to dogs that suffer from firework phobia. You can start to use them now, simply add to their food using the scoop provided. For full benefit start to use 6-8 weeks ahead of the firework season.
Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide. Under the bed or in a quiet corner. Don’t try to tempt them out of this safe space, as this will cause them to become more stressed.
Keep them inside and lock the cat flap so they cannot escape, at least you then know they are inside and safe. Provide a litter tray if you need to.
Partly cover outside cages and pens with blankets so an area is soundproofed and hidden. Make sure your pet is still able to look out.
Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow into.
Do check they are ok from time to time.
Perhaps relocate their cage to the garage, as a short term measure.