The season of celebration is upon us with Guy Fawkes, Diwali and New Years around the corner. Many people enjoy celebrating these joyous occasions with colourful explosions of fireworks that spur excitement and wonder amongst viewers. While humans may appreciate the bedazzling display of lights, the same cannot be said for our furry counterparts, especially dogs who may undergo stress and anxiety when being exposed to sudden, unfamiliar loud bangs.

Keep your furry friends’ terror at bay this festive season with this useful guide:

Why are Animals Scared of Fireworks?

Pets have an incredibly responsive and acute sense of hearing, indicating that the sound of fireworks is significantly louder for them than what humans hear. While humans have the privilege of being able to anticipate a firework display on each celebratory occasion, the sudden booms catch our pets totally off-guard and this can be extremely petrifying for them. Unlike thunderstorms, fireworks appear without any warning signs making it even harder for animals to expect their occurrence.

Prepare your Pets Before Firework Displays

1. Proper identification: A pet without the necessary identification is a recipe for disaster. Fireworks are a sure way to frighten animals to such an extent that they lose all perspective and make a dash in any direction to escape the volatile blasts. This can result in an even more traumatised animal (and family) when they find themselves lost and very far from home.

2. Tire them out: Allow your pet to expend as much energy as possible with a long run or walk prior to all the booms and bangs. This will wear them out and they will be more likely to sleep through.

3. Conditioning: Like anything in life, practice makes perfect so introducing your pet to fireworks sounds will stand your pet in good stead for the actual show. Play a recording of fireworks for three to four months prior to the festive celebrations, gradually turning up the volume before your pet’s meal times, cuddle time and walks so they begin to associate the sound with positive outcomes.

4. Evacuate: If your home is in close vicinity to the fireworks show, take your fuzzy friend to a place that’s far from all the commotion, such as a friend or relative’s home or a pet-care facility. Remember to allow them frequent visits to this place so they familiarise themselves with it and their stay there doesn’t cause them further stress.

5. Create a ‘Safe Haven’: If your home is not the centre of festivity or you’re unable to evacuate your pet for some reason, ensure you stay at home to comfort them. Alternatively have someone they know, such a friend or family member to keep them company and take them outdoors several times in the night to go potty. The following measures can be taken to ensure your home is a safe-haven for your bundle of fluff:

– Select a room in your house for your pet to occupy where the windows are too high for your pet to break through or jump from in a panic-ridden state. Ensure there is no way they can reach the window.

– Close all windows, draw all the curtains and play some soothing music that’s reasonably loud enough to mask the racket outdoors.

– Make their designated safe zone more comfortable by placing their favourite toys and blankets in and around the area.

– Always ensure they have a sufficient water supply.

– Catnip is a great way to calm cats down whereas a big, chewy bone may divert your pooch’s attention from the fireworks display.

– Give your pet a generous, nutritional portion of dinner to ensure they sleep soundly.

– Your pets pick up on your energy, and dogs especially, look to you as their pack leader, so remain calm and ignore the fireworks entirely so they follow suit, knowing there is nothing to be concerned about.

Talk to your Veterinarian

Some animals’ reactions to the sound of fireworks may be far more extreme than others. In such situations, it’s best to seek professional advice from your veterinarian in advance. Depending on the severity of your pet’s response to fireworks, your vet may prescribe medication to sedate them or advise you about the use of anxiety wraps and thunder-shirts.

Written by Taliah Williamson for Infurmation