How to help your pet cope with fireworks

Many of our celebrations are enhanced by fireworks. Unfortunately, they can be very distressing to our pets.

Animals are often frightened by sudden, loud noises. Fireworks can make a lot of noise, including banging, crackling, and whistling. This is especially true when the display lasts for more than just a few moments.

Some pets adapt to the new environment and get used to it, while others may develop more profound distress reactions. One of my dogs has a bad reaction, which has gotten worse with age.

As we prepare for several celebrations that may involve fireworks, it is important to think about how to keep our pets calm and happy.

Here are some tips to help your pet cope with the loudest night of the entire year.

Reassure them to make them feel secure.

It is recommended to ignore your pet if it seems scared, as you may be “rewarding.” Can’t reinforce a fearful emotion.

Fear is an essential protection mechanism that helps animals cope with or avoid frightening or dangerous situations.

Fearful animals will usually show fight, flight or freeze reactions. When our pets are scared, we can provide them with safety and security.

Be kind, supportive, and reassuring to your pet through verbal communication and physical contact. Be sure to stay relaxed and positive. You might transmit your anxiety to your pet, as they are adept at detecting our emotions.

Many dogs and cats find that snuggling up while the radio or TV is on can help drown out outside noise. Some cats might prefer a quiet, den-like space.

Consider bringing outdoor pets, such as rabbits, indoors. Or find other ways to reduce their exposure to fireworks.

Distract and calm using food, toys, and other games.

You can distract your pet by giving him food, toys, or treats. This could help you create positive associations with fireworks. You can also use training or other enjoyable activities.

Scented games can be beneficial to dogs. Some research suggests that dogs who use their noses are more optimistic. Catnip-filled toys can be calming.

You can give your pet a new activity or puzzle toy while also extending the time between treats. These toys are available for dogs, cats, rabbits, and other pets.

Pets should be kept indoors at night.

Each year, fireworks scare pets, and they go missing. The number of dogs who go missing on bonfire night doubles.

Simple measures such as checking the security of your garden and fence can help reduce the chances that a scared animal will escape. Make sure that your pet’s microchip information is up-to-date so that, if something happens to them, they will have a better chance of being returned home.

Collars that have identification tags are an easy but effective way to protect your dog in public. In the UK, they are a requirement. You should make sure that you exercise your dog in daylight before the fireworks begin. Keep your dogs on a lead if you must go out in the dark. This will help reduce the chance that they’ll bolt if they are suddenly scared. It’s best if you can avoid going outside during fireworks displays.

If you have a cat, make sure to call it in before the sun sets. Also, lock any cat flaps they may have so that they can’t sneak out.

Assuring your cat can help it calm down. RODNAE productions / Pexels

Consider medication alongside behavioural support

If your pet is showing severe fear reactions, it’s important to seek veterinary and qualified behavior advice.

Your veterinarian is the best source of advice and may be able to prescribe a tranquilizer to help your pet.

It is often better to use medications in conjunction with a behavior modification plan. Working with a trainer or animal behaviorist who has experience using positive reinforcement can be a great strategy.

It is important to consult a veterinarian to treat pets that are suffering from other conditions.

Your pet will learn to tolerate loud noises by being exposed to them.

Exposing animals to different sounds and sights is an easy way to minimize noise-reactivity. The use of CDs and podcasts that make frightening sounds, combined with treats, food, or other fun items, can be an effective and useful longer-term way to manage fireworks fear through desensitization.

It can be done with older animals as part of an organized training and support program. This is often done in conjunction with a -qualified behaviorist.

Our pets can be scared by fireworks. With a few simple steps, you can make the fireworks less frightening for your pets, now and in future years.


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