For most people fireworks are exciting but for pets they can be very scary. This is because our pets don’t understand that the fireworks won’t hurt them, all they see is bright colourful embers of fire falling from the sky and loud noises. Therefore New Years Eve can be a very stressful and scary night for many animals, not only dogs and cats but also horses and farm animals. The fireworks is what causes more pets to go missing on New Years Eve than any other day of the year.
Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and calm during fireworks.
* Exercise your pets late in the afternoon and feed them prior to the fireworks. This will ensure that all extra energy has been burnt off and that they are ready to sleep.
* Where possible bring pets inside or even into the garage. Create a calm, comfortable place for them with their bed, treats, toys and water. Close the windows and draw the blinds or curtains. Leave a light on and even the TV as it will help disguise the flashes of light. Having the TV on or even some music will help cover up the noise.
* If you are at home with your pets try to distract them from the fireworks noise and light flashes by playing and talking to them. Try not to coddle or sook them as this can often make the problem worse for next time. Simply speak to them in a reassuring, calm and praising voice while playing with them.
* For pets in cages like guinea pigs, rabbits or birds, cover the cage with a blanket and put them in a calm safe place.
* If you have a particularly nervous animal or an elderly pet that gets very stressed I suggest speaking to your veterinarian as some calming medication might be useful. There are a number of calming medicationsavailable, some by prescription and others without, that can help pets to relax during scary times.
* Another fantastic product available is the Thundershirt for Dogs. This is a tight fitting jacket/vest that works by applying firm and constant pressure that soothes the dog or cats nervous system and helps to relieve anxiety and calm them. They are very popular for helping to lower anxiety levels associated with many situations such as travel, separation , moving house, storms and fireworks.
* Ensure that all fences and gates are in good condition and locked with no places for pets to easily escape from. For horses and paddock animals, make sure fences are well maintained, gates are locked and that the paddocks are clear of any debris like fallen branches, so if animals are running around there isn’t anything they might injure themselves on.
* Make sure that your pets have an ID Tag and are microchipped, with correct contact details, just in case they do go missing.
* Most important, don’t forget to wish your pets a Happy New Year!!
I would also like to wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year and I look forward to sharing more stories with you next year.
Until next time,