20 Oct Fireworks and your Pets
Any celebration can involve the use of fireworks. However as Halloween, New Year’s Eve and Bonfire Night in particular approach, it’s key to refresh your knowledge and see what simple things you can do to reduce the stress and fright your pets might experience. Here’s some of our top tips specific to your pet;
Fireworks and cats
Cats show major signs of stress during fireworks due to the loud noises that come with them. Although we enjoy the display of lights and the bang, pop and fizz noises they make, cats and loud noises aren’t compatible. This is due to their excellent level of hearing.
Frightened cats are often more unpredictable than dogs. Each cat can react very differently which is why it’s important to make sure you do everything you can to make them comfortable and safe.
Keep them inside
According to the Cats Protection, 63% of cat owners in 2020 said their cat was adversely affected by fireworks, either by hiding, running away or increased jumpiness. It is this reaction that causes incidents such as traffic accidents, the loss of a cat, or a cat going missing.
Keeping your cat inside overnight and making sure your entire home is escape proof reduces the risk of cats putting themselves in danger.
Make sure to have a litter tray set up and plenty of food out. It is common for your kitty not to come when called if they’re in a state of stress so leaving food out means they can help themselves when necessary.
Also ensure that your feline friend has a good free rein of your home, this is so they can find somewhere they feel most comfortable and reduce their stress levels further by not enclosing them in just one room.
This leads us on nicely to setting up some hiding spaces for your kitty. Again, all cats are different, some prefer to seek out higher spots that they feel give them a vantage point. Others prefer the comfort of their favourite space on the sofa.
It’s a good idea to line a cardboard box with blankets, move their favourite cushion under a desk or away from windows to help reduce noise. You can even try making sure there’s easy access under your own bed. This is a common spot for cats to take refuge when stressed.
Fireworks and dogs
Unlike cats, dogs are much more dependable animals and will not react in the same way a cat does whilst experiencing stress, anxiety or fear.
According to the RSPCA, roughly 62% of dogs show signs of distress during fireworks. This can lead to behaviours such as excessive barking, whimpering, panting and spouts of erratic energy.
When it comes to ensuring your dog is as comfortable as possible during firework season, you can take the same precautions as above, escape-proof your home and provide plenty of areas of comfort. There are some other things you can do especially for your pooch though.
Walk them early
Walking your dog early achieves many things. It ensures that you are not out and about when fireworks begin, which reduces the impact of noise and sudden bangs.
However, it also means your dog hasn’t missed it’s daily exercise and is more likely to be tired when any fireworks do start.
Once returning from an early walk, it will be easier to get your canine friend into their bed and settled before any loud noises could potentially prevent this and alter their mood.
Dogs can often get too anxious to eat too so make sure to feed them nice and early before any disturbances.
Don’t leave them alone
It is important to remember not to leave your dog alone whilst fireworks are going off, whether they’re in the distance or neighbouring gardens. This is because dogs seek comfort from their owners and can often be a danger to themselves when in a state of panic and stress.
Keep your best friend company in their time of need. Dogs often mimic the mood of their owners. If you act normal they will pick up on this which improves their chances of staying calm.
Why not play with them? Or encourage them to sit with you if they are showing restless behaviour.
Fireworks and rabbits
Like most animals, our hopping furry friends also don’t mix well with fireworks. Although rabbits are masters at hiding their feelings, they can still feel distressed during firework season.
Bring their hutch inside
A simple solution is to bring a rabbit’s hutch inside. Unlike cats and dogs who need space, rabbits should be kept inside their hutch as this is their familiar territory.
But bringing their hutch inside and placing it in a quiet room/dark room can really help. It’s not always an option to bring them into your home, especially if you own other pets. But an unused garage or shed will also work well.
Don’t forget, there’s strength in numbers and rabbits are extremely social animals. If you own more than one, or their hutch is occupied by another furry friend too, don’t separate them. Ensuring they’re with their normal companion will limit any further stress.
Add extra bedding materials
Although understandably it’s not always a viable solution for owners to bring their rabbit inside. If this is the case, there are plenty of other things you can do to ensure they’re comfortable.
For example, rabbits by nature feel safest when they burrow. By adding lots of extra bedding materials into their hutch they can find a cosy spot low down that also stifles out noise.
What else can you do?
Check microchipping details
You can never be too cautious during firework season. It is always recommended to review your pet’s microchipping details in case the worst happens. Ensure the address and contact details are up to date.
There are also lots of products on the market specifically designed to help reduce stress and anxiety in animals. However, it’s always best to check they’re safe to use with your pet by speaking to your vet before purchasing.
Firework season is also the perfect time to check if your pet has insurance and if the cover is suitable.
All of our policy types cover vet fees and medical treatment which can be vital if your pet experiences an accident due to or in relation with fireworks. In the past 5 years, the RSPCA has received 1621 calls regarding fireworks and animal welfare. Make sure your four pawed friend is covered in plenty of time. Get a quote today!