Many people enjoy the fireworks displays which are so common at this time of year, but for your pets the flashes and bangs can cause a huge amount of confusion, fear and anxiety.
With fireworks night coming up, you may have already started preparations for your pet, but if not then now is the time to start getting ready.
What are the common signs of stress?
Not all animals will react to fireworks, but there are some key signs you can look out for to recognise if your pet is suffering.
For cats this can be seen in over grooming, excessive vocalisation, as well as attempting to hide away or refuse food. Your cat may also start to toilet outside of their litter box.
There are some similar signs seen in dogs when they become stressed. They may bark excessively, shake, pant or drool more than usual. They may also try to hide away, behave in a withdrawn manor, or start under eating.
How you can help during fireworks displays
One of the best ways to help an anxious pet is to create a comfortable safe space for them to hide in. Ideally these comforting spaces should be prepared in advance so that your pet can get used to them and learn that they are safe.
For cats this could be somewhere up high, and for a dog somewhere low to the ground.
Provide your pet with blankets, toys and other items which carry a familiar scent, but ensure that the have enough room to stand and turn around.
It is a good idea to start walking your dog a little earlier on the night of known displays, and particularly on dates like November the 5th and New Years Eve. Make sure that your cats and dogs are in before dark, and also consider bringing in and small pets living outside, such as guinea pigs and rabbits.
Once you are all safely inside, be sure to close windows, curtains and blinds to try to help muffle the sound from outside. It may also be a good idea to switch on the radio or television to further help distract from the sounds of fireworks.
Ensure that they have access to the safe space you have prepared, but remember to also remain present and calm yourself. Your pet may want to stay by your side, but it is also best to respect their decision if they would prefer to hide away. You can provide plenty of distractions for your pet with treats toys and games to help get through the night, but be careful not to reinforce any unusual behaviours such as whining or shaking.
It is common to be worried about your pets behaviour at this time of year, if you would like any help or advice then please feel free to get in touch. I can talk you though best practices, options for calming products, and even desensitisation programs if your pet is particularly troubled by these issues.