Many pets suffer from anxiety when the loud bangs and bright lights of fireworks start.
Watch The Dog Coach, Vicky Crane's video guide on how to help your dogs feel calm on firework night.
Here are some more hints and tips to ensure you have a safe and happy pets this year.
- Have a cosy place for your pet to curl up and relax.
- Behave normally, if you get frustrated or annoyed by the noise your pet WILL pick up on this and this will give him/her cause for concern.
- Distract your pet from the noise by having the TV or radio on.
- Take your dog for a walk prior to it getting dark, as you will be less likely to be disturbed by fireworks.
- Shut all the curtains to prevent the flashes of light scaring your lovely pet.
- Keep your pet on a lead at all times, just in case a surprise loud bang startles them, this could cause them to run away.
- Reward good behaviour with treats or playtime but do not reward signs of fear as this can perpetuate the problem. If your cat normally goes potty outside in the garden, put a litter tray in the house for it. If they are frightened to go outside, they may hang on to their urine which can lead to bladder issues such as cystitis, a painful inflammation of the bladder", recommends our team of vet experts.
They also suggest that you work on desensitisation. This is likely to be too late for the upcoming fireworks, but perhaps something you can do in preparation for next year. It involves slowly introducing them to the noises that scare them.
Only subjecting them to the noise for short periods and when they are relaxed and only reward them when they are not showing signs of fear. It takes great patience and is not always effective for all pets.
- Take your dog to a firework display, even if it seems fine. Remember, their hearing is better than ours, so the loud bangs will be even worse for them!
- Leave your pet alone if it is scared of fireworks, this will make it worse.
- Tell your pet off, it doesn’t understand what the noises are, don’t make it more anxious than it already is.
- Don’t be tempted to use essential oils especially with cats. Although some products marketed for animals may contain essential oils, these would have been made in a safe way. Applying pure essential oils directly to your pets coat or using a diffuser, especially when choosing highly concentrated oils, can cause toxicities especially to cats.
Products to help calm your pet
We asked our vet experts, Dr Sophie Bell and qualified vet nurse Sarah James for recommendations.
Some products can help alleviate pets' fear. Some will work better than others. Options include:
A thunder shirt – these can be used for both dogs and cats and come in a range of sizes. They work by applying constant pressure to your pet’s body. This type of pressure has been shown to release calming hormones such as oxytocin or endorphins. It's a lot like swaddling a baby.
Sileo gel – this is a prescription-only product. This gel is applied to your pet’s gums or cheek and calms your dog as it reduces specific reactions in the nervous system. It is specifically used for dogs with fear aversions so is ideal for the extremely nervous dogs. But it is a drug, so your vet will ultimately decide if it is needed.
Pheromones – such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. Receptors for pheromones are located between the nose and mouth. They can produce a calming effect.
Nutracalm – can be used for both dogs and cats. It is a natural product, with great results seen within one hour after administration. It can be sprinkled on their food, making it easy to give.
Calming sprays – such as pet remedy or calm cat which are valerian based and can help with keeping your pet calm
Happy hoody – some dogs will really benefit from the use of these. They are fitted over the ears and can dull or block out sounds.