Pets and Fireworks

New year’s eve is fast approaching and that means the biggest fireworks displays we see all year. While they are usually fun for us, a lot of pets suffer major anxiety surrounding the noise phobias that go with fireworks.

Fear of loud noises in dogs can also happen with loud thunderstorms but fireworks are particularly loud. Each year, hundreds of cats and dogs go missing due to the noise of fireworks displays causing noise phobias.

Pets can go to great lengths to escape – bolting through doorways or windows, climbing or jumping fences, digging out, even breaking down barriers doing major damage to fences, walls and themselves.

If you prepare early, there are some things that you can do to make the event easier on your pets and prevent the heartache of your pet going missing. If you know your pet has a noise phobia, speak to your vet about the latest treatment options and natural remedies. Some drug free remedies include Thundershirts and Rescue Remedy or Bach Flower Essences.

It can help to give your dog some good exercise in the afternoon before the noisy fireworks. Feed them a meal about an hour after exercise. A full and tired dog should show less anxiety and find it easier to relax.

If your pet does not have a major phobia, or you aren’t sure what their reaction will be, the best approach is to act upbeat and happy like nothing is wrong. Play your dog’s favourite game with them or do some training that they enjoy. Offer food for calm and relaxed behaviour if your dog is food motivated. If your dog is too fearful to enjoy games or training, give them a small, dark cosy space to retreat to. A crate is ideal if your dog is crate trained.

When there is going to be fireworks on, it’s best to lock your pet indoors and preferably stay with them if you can. Have the TV or some music on to help block out the noise. If you need to leave your pets alone indoors, leaving the TV or radio on can help them feel like someone is home. Never leave your dog tied up unattended as they can choke themselves to death when frantic.

Ensure your pets are micro-chipped, registered with your local council and wearing a collar with ID tags. These steps ensure the best chance of getting your pet back should they escape. Remember to check your local pound and neighbouring pounds several times in the unfortunate event that you do lose your pet.

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