To all our American friends, happy July 4th!
We all know that one of the most exciting parts of the 4th of July celebrations are the huge, beautiful fireworks displays all over the USA.
However, fireworks aren’t very popular with pets.
In fact, research by the RSPCA has shown that 45% of dogs in the UK exhibit symptoms of fear when they hear fireworks. Cats are affected too, but as they tend to run away and hide when they are scared, it’s harder to analyse their response to fireworks. In the UK, Bonfire Night on the 5th of November is frequently accompanied with grandiose firework shows and loud sounds, and is when your dog or cat will likely need more TLC.
For most pets, their response to fireworks will be temporary and they may adapt to them as they adjust to the loud bangs. However, for some animals, they can grow more sensitive and show increased signs of fear.
As courageous as your pet may normally be, fireworks can turn them into a nervous wreck.
The typical signs of fear to look out for are:
Trembling and shaking
Clinging to owners
Having accidents in the house
Pacing and panting
Refusing to eat
These behaviours are all natural fear responses and shouldn’t be punished. You can, however, help increase your pet's comfort. Felcana’s vets have put together their top tips in this article!
Top Tips For Keeping Your Pet Safe & Calm During The Firework Celebrations:
1. Safe space
Providing a den or safe space is an effective way of alleviating your pet's fear and controlling their environment. This should be in a place your pet would usually retreat to such as their bed or crate. You can even place a blanket over the den area to increase their sense of security and reduce the noise of the fireworks.
2. Stick together
If you can, stay at home with your pet. This will help reduce their anxiety and you can comfort them if they do show signs of fear. Try to keep your pet indoors too – if they get spooked out in the garden this will make them more likely to bolt and end up lost or in dangerous situations.
3. Contact details
Just in case your pet does get scared and run away, make sure their pet’s ID tag is up to date with your contact details. If your pet is microchipped (which we highly recommend) ensure your details are correct so you can be reunited as soon as possible.
4. Day-time walks
Minimise your pet’s exposure to fireworks by walking them whilst it is still light out. Close the curtains, doors and cat flaps at home and put on music or the television at a loud volume to act as a distraction.
Toys are a great way to keep your pet occupied and distracted. Dogs love a treat-filled Kong which they have to work hard to get the food out of, and you can get your cats attention with catnip toys or laser pens.
You can use natural remedies to help calm your pet. Pheromone diffusers, such as Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are available at most pet stores. These can be plugged in or sprayed and help to de-stress pets my mimicking natural pheromones.
7. Veterinary advice
For some pets, particularly rescues who may have had unfortunate pasts, the fear of fireworks never leaves them. In this case, consult your vet. They may be able to recommend or prescribe medication to help keep your pet calmer and reduce the stress they experience.