Fireworks and Noise Safety for Pets
It doesn’t matter how well adjusted you think your pet is, animals and fireworks are not a good combination. Studies suggest that as many as half of pets exhibit very visible symptoms of fear when it comes to fireworks – with nearly all of their anxiety related to the sounds rather than the sights of fireworks. It is important to remember that your pet’s hearing is far superior to your own, so what sounds like a loud bang to you can sound far, far louder and more frightening to an animal that doesn’t anticipate the sound or realizes that it won’t actually hurt them. However, even if your pet doesn’t appear to be particularly afraid of them, it is important to take steps to keep him safe and happy during times when fireworks are likely.
Here is our guide to fireworks and noise safety for pets so that you and your pet can be as prepared as possible. The first thing that you need to look out for are indicators that your pet is feeling stressed so that you are aware that he needs your help and support.
Signs of stress in cats
Some of the signs that cats tend to exhibit that suggest that they are stressed include:
Trying to run away
Cowering and hiding on top of or behind furniture
Refusing to eat
Passing urine or bowel movements in places other than their litter box
None of these are pleasant to witness, but if your cat has a means of getting out the house, if he tries to run away it could be very dangerous for him. This is because a frightened pet doesn’t move with caution. In his panic, he could rush into traffic, the path of a predator or into another hazard that causes him to become injured.
Signs of stress in dogs
A dog that is stressed may show some of the following signs:
Excessive vocalization (whining or barking)
Trembling and shaking
Clinging to their preferred human
Cowering and hiding
Trying to run away
Refusing to eat
Emptying bladder/bowels in the house
Witnessing a frightened dog’s behavior can be heart-breaking for any owner. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to reduce the anxiousness that your canine pal feels around fireworks.
Ways that you can help your pet feel calm around fireworks
There are many different steps that you can take that will help your pet to feel safe and calm when there are fireworks being lit. These include the following:
Take your dog for a walk well before any fireworks are likely to be set off.
Bring your cat indoors at least 12 hours before fireworks are due to start.
Create a safe space for your pet. Ideally this should be in the middle part of the house where there are no or few windows and your pet is furthest away from any noise.
Keep doors, windows and cat/dog flaps closed so that your pet can’t run away.
Close curtains and put some music or the television on to help mask the sounds of the fireworks.
Take comfort cues from your pet. If he is demanding attention and love then give it to him, but if he prefers to hide away or be left alone then follow his wishes. Some animals cope better when they are left alone.
Remain calm, talk in low soothing tones and keep your behavior normal. Pets pick up on your emotional climate and if you are stressed, this will only heighten your pet’s anxiety.
Small mammals and fireworks
It is equally as important to protect smaller mammals such as rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs from the stress and fear that can be caused by the noise of fireworks. Bring cages and hutches inside wherever possible and cover them with a blanket if it isn’t too hot since this will help dull the sound. Provide plenty of bedding so that your furry friend has somewhere to hide where they can feel safe.