As the 4th July swiftly approaches, many people are probably thinking about BBQs, pool parties and other exciting ways to enjoy Independence Day. Fireworks are a very common addition to any type of celebration and one that is enjoyed by a huge number of people. However, there may be someone living in your household who is adversely affected by the loud bangs that accompany a firework display – your pet.
Most animals have very acute hearing, and this means that what sounds like a loud boom or high-pitched shriek to our human ears is positively deafening and even physically painful for your pet to hear. Combined with the fact that these noises can be frightening for animals who are of an anxious disposition, it is easy to see why so many pets run away, hide and even make themselves sick with fear and anxiety during firework displays.
While you can certainly help protect your pet by not letting off fireworks yourself, you will still need to help her manage her fear and keep her safe while others in the neighborhood may be enjoying the pyrotechnics.
Whether you have a dog or cat, or a smaller species of pet, here are our top tips for firework safety for pets.
Protecting Pets in Cages / Enclosures
While you may not have to worry about your pet running off, these smaller pets tend to be even more easily frightened than cats and dogs are. Therefore, every effort should be made to protect them from the noise and help them feel as secure as possible. To do this, you can:
- Bring any outdoor hutches/cages/enclosures that are usually outside into the house, or a garage or other secure outbuilding. If this isn’t possible, try and at least turn it around so that it faces a wall rather than the open garden. This will help your pet feel more secure.
- Provide extra bedding so that your pet can burrow and hide herself.
- Covering enclosures with thick blankets or bedding will help deaden the sounds and block out flashes of light. However, ensure that your pet can still get enough ventilation and go out an uncover as soon as the fireworks have ceased.
Helping Dogs and Cats Stay Safe During Fireworks
The most important thing to remember is to keep your pets inside when there are firework displays going on in your neighborhood. Get any outdoor cats home the day before they are due to start and them keep them in. That way you won’t be chasing around trying to find your kitty – something which may be difficult if she is outside when they start and chooses to hide. You should also ensure that your pet’s microchip or collar has up-to-date ID information, should she still somehow manage to escape and run away.
Other important tips for keeping your pet safe during fireworks include:
- Keeping windows and doors closed and cat flaps blocked so that your pet can’t get out. It will also help keep noise to a minimum.
- If you usually have the television or music on, use these to help dull the noise of the fireworks.
- Prepare a ‘safe space’ for your pet to hang out in during the fireworks. This could be a quiet corner of the house or even under a bed. Provide blankets for her to burrow into if she wants to.
- Don’t prevent her from pacing, whining or expressing how she feels.
- Give her lots of praise and affection if she lets you.
- Don’t get cross with her if she has toilet accidents during fireworks.
- Try and avoid having to leave her alone. Having you around will make her feel more secure.
In some instances, it may be helpful for your pet to have anxiety medications ahead of any planned fireworks. Contact us and our veterinarian will be able to advise if this is a suitable option for your pet. Our vet will also be able to give you any further information and guidance you may need about firework safety for pets.