Ensure pets don’t lose sparkle amid firework fears

FireworksVets are advising pet owners on how to prevent their animals becoming stressed and unsettled as fireworks season gets under way.

Kevin Wood, clinical director of Cherrydown Vets in Basildon, has warned this time of year can be a nightmare for terrified pets who become spooked as fireworks are used ever more frequently, not only for the traditional November 5 bonfire night, but also in celebration of Diwali, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

“Unfortunately, some animals can react extremely badly, becoming so frenzied that they can injure themselves or even their owners, which can obviously result in serious consequences,” said Kevin.

“The vast majority of stressed pets can be treated without any need to resort to medication, such as the use of desensitising CDs which get animals used to the noise of fireworks and plug-in pheromones.”

Kevin also recommends a host of other tips to help pets cope with the commotion of fireworks season, including closing curtains before dusk and ensuring dogs and cats are inside when any celebrations are taking place.

He said: “There are a lot of things pet owners can do to help their animals, such as taking dogs for walks on a lead in the early evening and distracting animals with active play, television and music.

“However my top recommendation for owners is to remain calm. While it may be tempting to comfort a spooked cat or dog, this can actually be counter-productive. Both ‘mollycoddling’ and punishing a frightened pet could reinforce negative behaviour. If owners appear to be unaffected, pets will follow this example.”

Cherrydown is offering a free nurse clinic for advice on keeping pets safe during fireworks season.  For more information,  call 01268 533 636.

Top tips to ensure your pet stays safe during fireworks season:

  • Always keep cats and dogs inside when fireworks are let off
  • Close all windows and doors, draw curtains and seal up cat flaps
  • Let your pet pace around, whine, mew and hide if they want to. Don’t try to coax them out – they are trying to find safety and should not be disturbed
  • Hutches and cages should, if possible, be taken into a quiet room indoors or into a garage or shed
  • Give your small pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe