Holiday fireworks can be terrifying for many pets. The noise can be too much for them and can hurt their sensitive ears. Frightened pets can have different reactions to noise. Some tremble, others retreat to a hiding place, some try to run off and can get lost, while others display bizarre behaviour. Fireworks and even summer thunderstorms can trigger wild fear in about 20% of dogs and pets that are normally well-behaved may become aggressive, destructive and/or unpredictable.
Below are some tips that you can use to help your pets cope with fireworks or other loud noise:
- Do not take your pets with you to watch the fireworks because if they become frightened, there’s nowhere for them to go that is familiar for them to feel safe.
- Do not leave pets outside, even in a fenced yard, anytime when fireworks might be set off in the distance.
- Ensure that your pets are wearing well-fitted collars and securely fastened ID tags. This way, if they do run off, it will be easier for you to be reunited with your pet.
- If there will be fireworks in your neighbourhood or if you’re having guests over for a holiday celebration, find a quiet, secure place to keep your pets. Darkening the room can help. A Thunder Shirt may also help to calm your pets (these are available at all Global Pet Foods stores across Canada).
- Crating is also a good idea to keep them calm. Place the crate in the quietest part of the home. Make sure you put safe chew toys in the crate to occupy and distract the pet during the event.
- You can close the curtains and turn up the radio, CD player or TV to drown out noise. This could soothe them enough to “tune out” the fireworks going off in the area.
- Sometimes pets find shelter in the bathroom, near, under or in the bathtub. Do not try to lure them out. If the dog finds comfort there, let them be.
- Rather than cuddle a frightened dog, try to distract the dog from the disturbing noises with physical activity such as playing ball. Scolding or coddling a scared dog will not help. Scolding will only scare and confuse him and coddling simply reinforces fearful behaviours. Instead, assume a “pack leader” role and act confident and not bothered by the noise and activity outside. You can give your pet a gentle massage, or just place your hand calmly on the pet’s head.
- If you are hosting a fireworks party on your property, please ensure that your pet doesn’t have access to any debris from firework packaging. Dispose of all fireworks packaging accordingly when the firework has cooled down. Digesting any of the used debris from firework packaging can be harmful to pets.
There’s no question that special days like Victoria Day, Canada Day and Labour Day are all great reasons to celebrate and fireworks are a wonderful way to do so. However, if you have pets, it’s important that you plan ahead. Take precautions to ensure that your celebrations aren’t marred by a pet that has run off, or that you aren’t dealing with the after-effects of a pet having challenges in overcoming a bad experience of a really loud celebration.
Hope that you had a wonderful holiday weekend…cheers!