While many official fireworks displays will be cancelled this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, Royal Canin said that, unfortunately, it doesn’t mean pet owners will escape the anxiety associated with bonfire night.
With no public displays, it may mean more people will hold fireworks displays in their gardens. This could cause greater distress for pets because the noisy explosions and flashes will be even closer to home. It also makes it tricky to prepare because it is difficult to predict when private displays will happen, unlike the large public events.
John O’Connor, vet and corporate affairs director at Royal Canin, offers these top tips to pass on to customers.
If you know a pet is sensitive to fireworks, ask neighbours if they plan to hold any fireworks in their gardens. This will prevent them being caught out and give them time to make preparations to keep their pet calm.
Minimise the noise
Shut all windows and doors, draw curtains and close blinds to help block out the noise and bright flashes.
Mask the noise
Use familiar sounds to disguise the sound of the fireworks. Turn on the TV, radio or even the washing machine help mask the noise.
Help pets feel safe
Keep pet indoors and avoid leaving them alone when it’s dark and the likelihood of fireworks increases. Create places where they can hide if they want to and consider using a pheromone support or dog anxiety jacket. Comfort is key.
Think about diet
Feed cats or dogs before the fireworks start as this can help to settle them. Ensure there is plenty of fresh water available as stressed animals pant more which will make them thirstier. Another option to is to consider a diet with certain nutrients known to help support a calm state.
Change walk time
Suggest that owners alter the time they exercise their dog to minimise the chance of them being out when fireworks are being let off. Walk them in the afternoon or morning just for that day or even for a couple of days leading up to the night so they can readjust.
Owners could distract their pet with something they enjoy such as grooming or playing with their favourite toy. Avoid giving them treats as this could reinforce their anxious behaviour.
Ensure pets are microchippedIn case a pet runs away from home, owners need to ensure they are chipped and their details are up to date on the database.