Tips To Help Pets With Fireworks Anxiety
Fireworks are a common cause of anxiety in many pets. The noise and flashes can cause them to feel scared and stressed – they may vocalise, shake, hide, or try to escape. Some dogs will jump fences, or break out of the home. They can easily become lost, injured or sadly, even lose their lives.
Here’s our top tips to combat fireworks anxiety, so that you can keep them safer:
Safely secure your pet before scheduled fireworks start.
Make sure your pet is safe, secure and unable to injure themselves before the fireworks have begun. They will most likely need to be in the house with you. If there is a place in the home they go to seek comfort, make sure they can access that area. Typically cats prefer to be on their own in the house, dogs are more likely to want to be near you.
Reduce the visual stimuli.
Block the windows where possible. Have the blinds down, or covers across the window to reduce the flashes of light.
Reduce the noise heard.
It’s also helpful to reduce the intensity of the noise – we can do this by closing windows and providing some background noise for distraction, such as TV or radio. Putting the dishwasher or washing machine on can help some cases too!
Products that hug your pet, such as a thunder shirt. They apply gentle, constant pressure and have been shown to be calming, similar to the effect of swaddling an infant.
Create a positive association and keep them distracted.
This works well when they are younger. Try to give them a treat (such as in a Kong toy) or play a game at the time of the fireworks – the purpose is to distract them and help them form a positive association with the event (this works during desensitisation below too).
There are CDs available that you can also use to slowly introduce the sound of fireworks to dogs when they are young, or gently desensitise dogs from their phobia at any age.
Consider calming aids. These include artificial pheromones, which replicate the calming pheromones of cats or dogs and can really aid in stress reduction. These can be provided via collars, sprays and room diffusers.
Every pet is different
It’s important to note that what works for one pet will not necessarily work for another. Many anxious pets need prescription medication together with home management of their anxiety, so use these tips as a handy guide, and if you’re still unsure or concerned, please chat with a Vet.