It seems like we’ve only just made it through Bonfire Night in November, but here we are, with New Year’s Eve celebrations fast approaching. For many pet owners, this is reason to start feeling a bit uneasy. As lovely as they may be to look at, fireworks can cause tremendous stress to our beloved pets (and not to mention wildlife). We have spoken to our friends at the Blue Cross for some advice on how to best care for your pet during this stressful time.
What to look out for?
It’s important to note that not all pets react to fireworks in the same way, and whilst some reactions might be quite evident, some may go unnoticed. Visibly shaking, barking, whimpering/crying, jumping on people or furniture and being unable to stay still are the most common reactions. Some pets might show less obvious signs however, such as excessive scratching/rubbing, pulling out tufts of fur and over-grooming. These reactions can sometimes be dismissed as normal pet behaviour, but if you notice your pet displaying them more frequently, it is likely to be caused by the ongoing fireworks.
What can you do around the house?
While it's wonderful that people can spend the festive season together once again, be mindful that sometimes excessive noise from large group gatherings along with the fireworks might cause even more added stress to your pet. Equally, it’s crucial that you do not leave your pet home alone. Whether you’ll have lots of people around or just a few, make sure you create a safe space for your pet to hide in and ideally give them access to a quiet room. You can even make it extra special by creating a fort with blankets and their favourite toys – just make sure this space is not too warm. Don’t forget to close your windows, curtains and blinds. Just like humans, pets can find background music soothing, so turn on the TV or radio to help muffle the noise.
What can you do with your pet?
Making the house a safe place is super important, but there are also many things you can do with your pet to prepare them and help calm them down. Exercise can be very helpful in moderating your pet’s emotions, as a tired pet is generally a calm pet. Don’t skip your pet’s walks on the day but remember to walk your dog during daylight hours before the fireworks start. It's important to keep your pet busy indoors too. Play mind stimulating games such as hiding treats and allowing them to find them. Anything that keeps them focused on you or their toy can help distract them from the fireworks going off outside. If they start to react it’s crucial that you remain calm, act normal and praise them for their calm behaviour.
Finally, remember your pet might look to you for comfort, so give them as many cuddles and pets as needed!
For more advice on how to keep your dog safe and calm this fireworks season visit: bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-and-fireworks
A final quick tip from the Anicura team:
If your pet does suffer from stress-related skin issues, such as itchy skin, rashes, excessive rubbing, over-grooming and even broken skin, don’t hesitate to get out your Cat or Dog Gel and apply some soothing ointment to the affected area. Our Gel does not only cool the area, it also forms a protective layer and speeds up the healing process, so that your pet is right back on track to healthy, balanced skin.