December 31, 2019
For plenty of people, fireworks are an essential part of ringing in the New Year. But for a significant portion of the animal population they are bright, loud and rather terrifying. 
How To Keep Your Pets Calm And Safe During Fireworks
Roughly 45% of dogs show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, according to the RSPCA, while a poll of over 32,000 dog owners by charity Guide Dogs revealed a quarter (8,473) said their dog’s biggest fear was fireworks and loud noises.
Cats can also find the banging noises and bright flashes of light stressful – putting them at risk of injury (they might run into roads) or becoming lost.
So what can you do to help keep your four-legged companions calm and safe this evening? Whether you’re a cat or a dog owner, the best thing you can do is remain calm and act normally – if you don’t, this will only reinforce their fear.
It’s also recommended that pet owners stay in with their pets if they’re particularly fearful of fireworks.Advice for dog ownersFirstly, make sure you walk your dog in the afternoon before it gets dark. It might be helpful to go on a longer walk than usual so they are tired and relaxed for the evening. The Guide Dogs charity also recommends feeding your dog earlier than normal so they can relieve themselves before the fireworks begin.
Once night falls, make sure doors and windows are firmly shut and close any curtains or blinds to try and muffle the sound of the fireworks. The RSPCA recommends putting on some music or the TV to try and mask the banging noises coming from outside.
It might also be worth creating a quiet, safe space (or two) where your dog can feel in control – you might want to fill them with blankets, toys or an unwashed item of your clothing so they are surrounded by plenty of familiar scents.Ensure your dog has access to plenty of water as anxiety can make them pant more and therefore become more thirsty. And if your dog does hide behind the sofa or under the bed, leave them be. Don’t try to coax them out. Equally, if they come to you for a cuddle, make sure you give them the attention they need and don’t push them away.
A Guide Dogs spokesperson advises people not to make a big fuss of the fireworks ending. If you let your dog out, make sure that your garden is secure and be prepared that your dog might have an accident overnight as it might be too scared to relieve itself.
Research from Vets4Pets found 20% of dogs bark, yap or howl when they hear the fireworks, but scolding them will only make them more stressed.Signs a dog is stressed include: shaking, hiding, whining, barking, vomiting and diarrhoea.Advice for cat ownersCats Protection recommends keeping kitties inside when fireworks are being set off, as this helps to keep them calm and reduces the risk of them getting spooked and hurting themselves. If you do keep your cat indoors, you’ll need to provide a litter tray, food and water bowls, and toys.
Lock cat flaps, windows and doors so they aren’t tempted to escape, and provide plenty of hiding places for them around your home – if they love cardboard boxes, why not pop a blanket in a box so they can hide in that?
Soothing music might help to distract them from the outside noises and pheromone plug-in diffusers (such as Feliway) can also be useful in reducing their anxiety.
The cat charity advises against keeping cats locked in one room as this can increase stress. Allow access to all safe areas of the house and they’ll be content in exploring their surroundings, it suggests.
Don’t try and pick up or continuously cuddle your cat as this can also stress them out even more. Just let them do their thing.Signs a cat is stressed include: behavioural issues such as toileting in the house, excessive grooming, hiding or becoming withdrawn, eating or drinking less, increased anxiety or fear, and pacing, circling or restlessness. Related... These Are The 11 Unmissable Animal Moments Of 2019 – And Frankly No Other Round-Up Matters 13 Christmas Treats You Really Shouldn't Be Feeding Your Dog 12 Stylish Pet Accessories That Won't Make Your Front Room Look Terrible
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