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Fireworks tips & advice

November is that time of year when we celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali and Guy Fawkes Night, with spectacular fireworks displays and bonfires.

However, an estimated 60 per cent of all pets become distressed during this time because of the loud noise and light from the fireworks, which can lead to injuries or even injuries, distress and long term behavioural problems.

To help prevent your pet from injury or even developing long term behavioural problems we have teamed up with our Brian Faulkner our Petplan vet to give you some top tips:

  • Avoid leaving your pets alone – they will feel safer with you around
  • If your pet starts feeling anxious – stay calm and act normally. This will help your pet feel safer and lets them know there is nothing to fear. Do not respond directly to their anxiety – you will only reinforce it.
  • Keep your cat or dog inside, and keep all windows, curtains and doors closed
  • Turn on the TV or some music to drown out some of the noise
  • Provide your cat with a litter tray if it is used to being able to get into the garden
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a form of identification. If they manage to escape, this will make sure you can be easily contacted when your pet is found. Microchips are excellent but remember to ensure your registered details are up-to-date with the chip database. However they do not replace collars which are useful for restraining an anxious dog as well as identification.
  • Ensure that any collars are safety collars so your pet does not hurt itself if it gets caught on other objects. Reflective collars are a good idea since it is often dark and being hit by a car is one of the bigger risks.
  • Take your dog for a walk during daylight, when fireworks are less likely to be let off

With rabbits and smaller animals, Brian advises that pet-owners:

  • Bring their hutch or cage inside to a quiet room, garage or shed
  • If you cannot move it, turn it away from the open garden to face the house, cover it with thick blankets or a quilt so your pet isn't able to see the flashes and provide them with extra bedding so they can hide away

Not all pets are affected by fireworks but if you're not sure whether your dog is stressed by fireworks, his symptoms may include some or all of the following:

  • Salivating and drooling
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Scratching to get into the house or out of a room
  • Hiding in corners or under furniture
  • Whining, barking or howling
  • Whimpering and excessive or abnormal attention seeking
  • Loss of bodily functions - bladder and/or bowel
  • Refusal to eat

If you are unsure of your pets behaviour or if you know your pet is stressed by fireworks, please seek veterinary advice well before fireworks season.

For more information and three steps to preparing your pet for Guy Fawkes night, click here.