Fireworks may make us humans happy and excited but the same isn’t true for our furry friends. Just like thunderstorms, the loud, unexpected noises of fireworks can cause our pets extreme distress.
It’s therefore important to create a safe, calm environment for them. This will prevent them from hurting themselves or becoming lost in panic.
Know when the fireworks night will commence and ensure your pet is in a safe and secure place a few hours before they start. Ensure your pet is exercised and well fed before the fireworks begin as this may help them de-stress, and be more inclined to nap once festivities begin.
Create a safe place
Pets can have a ‘flight’ response to unexpected noises, sometimes ending up kilometres from home in their panic. Because of this, pets should be kept indoors whenever possible, including rabbits and guinea pigs.
Creating a calm, secure area for your pet inside your house will also help them feel protected. Close the curtains and put familiar bedding in a small, confined hiding place. A laundry or bathroom is ideal. Otherwise, allow your pet to be with you while you play music or turn the television on to cover the sounds. (NOT the fireworks).
Speak to your veterinarian early
If you are concerned about how your pet will cope, speak to your veterinarian early! Short-term medications may help your pet but supervision is still recommended.
Monitor for signs of stress
Staying home with your pet will help them feel comforted. If this isn’t possible, try to arrange overnight boarding at a kennel or veterinary hospital.
When the noises begin, keep an eye out for subtle stress signs. Dogs may lick their lips, yawn or begin panting. Other signs may include vocalisation, heavy panting, shaking and shivering. If your pet does show signs that they are frightened, never raise your voice or punish him. Speak softly, stroke them, try to distract them, and reward calm behaviour with positive playtime and treats. A treat filled kong toy or filled Kong or favourite toy is a great distraction.
Microchip and collars
If your pet does manage to escape, keeping microchip and registration details up-to-date is vital. A collar with identification is also a good idea
Locating a lost pet
Losing your beloved fur baby can be devastating. If you have lost your pet, contact your local veterinarians, Penrith City Council Animal Rangers, Hawkesbury Companion Animal Shelter and the various lost and found Facebook groups in the area.
For more information about making this Christmas and New Year fireworks season less stressful for your pet, phone the team at Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital on 4736 2027.