Firework displays can be breathtaking and exhilarating for humans, but they can be quite the opposite for our furry friends. The loud noises, bright lights, and unfamiliar smells can induce panic, stress, and anxiety in pets. However, as responsible pet owners, there are ways to ensure your pets are safe and comfortable during these events. Here's how:
Create a Safe Space
Before the fireworks begin, designate a quiet room or space for your pet where they can retreat. This should be a familiar area with their favourite toys, bed, or blanket. This not only provides a sense of security but also helps dampen the noise from the fireworks.
Happy Hoodies and Calming Wraps
Enter the Happy Hoodie—a snug band made of stretchy, soft material that wraps around a pet’s head and ears. This tool is invaluable for noise-sensitive pets as it helps muffle loud sounds, reducing their stress.
How to use: Place the Happy Hoodie over your pet's ears before the firework display starts. Ensure it's snug but not too tight.
Benefits: Besides protecting against the noise, it can also help calm pets when they’re being groomed or during thunderstorms.
Another option similar to the Happy Hoodie is the calming wrap or anxiety vest. These apply gentle, consistent pressure, mimicking the feeling of being held, and can calm an anxious pet.
Engage your pet with their favorite toys or treats. This not only distracts them from the noise but also associates the sound of fireworks with positive experiences. Playing soft music or turning on the television can also help mask the sound of the fireworks.
Secure Your Premises
During firework displays, ensure that windows, doors, and any other exits are securely closed. Fearful pets might try to escape or hide, potentially putting themselves in danger. Always ensure your pet has identification (like a microchip or collar tag) just in case they manage to escape.
Your pets are attuned to your emotions. If you're calm and collected, it helps reassure them that there's no immediate danger. Avoid getting agitated or showing anxiety, as this can transfer to your pets.
Consult Your Veterinarian
If you know your pet has a history of severe anxiety with loud noises, it might be worth consulting your veterinarian. They can provide recommendations tailored to your pet, including the possible use of sedatives or other anxiety-reducing medications.
Desensitisation and Counter-Conditioning
For pets with extreme anxiety, consider preparing them months in advance by playing recordings of firework noises. Start at a low volume and gradually increase it over time. Pair the sounds with positive rewards (like treats) to help them associate the noises with good things.
If possible, try to keep your pets indoors before the fireworks start until they've ended. This minimises their exposure to the loud noises and reduces the risk of them getting startled and running off.
Firework displays can be a challenging time for pets, but with the right preparation and tools like the Happy Hoodie, it's possible to minimize their stress and anxiety. Always prioritise your pet's safety and well-being, and if in doubt, consult with professionals who can provide more personalised guidance. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in ensuring a peaceful firework night for both you and your furry friend.