Happy New Year = Scary Fireworks

Fireworks can be very scary for dogs

It’s almost time to bring in the New Year which means celebrating, parties and fantastic firework displays.

For most people fireworks are exciting but for pets they can be very scary. This is because our pets don’t understand that the fireworks won’t hurt them, all they see is bright colourful embers of fire falling from the sky and loud noises. Therefore New Years Eve can be a very stressful and scary night for many animals, not only dogs and cats but also horses and farm animals. The fireworks is what causes more pets to go missing on New Years Eve than any other day of the year.

Tips to help pets that are scared of fireworks

Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and calm during fireworks.

  • Exercise your pets late in the afternoon and feed them prior to the fireworks.  This will ensure that all extra energy has been burnt off and that they are ready to sleep.
  • Where possible bring pets inside or even into the garage. Create a calm, comfortable place for them with their bed, treats, toys and water.  Close the windows and draw the blinds or curtains.  Leave a light on and even the TV as it will help disguise the flashes of light.  Having the TV on or even some music will help cover up the noise.
  • If you are at home with your pets try to distract them from the fireworks by playing and talking to them.  Puzzle toys or treat toys are good choices to distract them and focus their energy elsewhere. Try not to coddle or sook them as this can often make the problem worse for next time.  Simply speak to them in a reassuring, calm and praising voice while playing with them.
  • For pets in cages like guinea pigs, rabbits or birds, cover the cage with a blanket and put them in a calm safe place.
  • If you have a particularly nervous animal or an elderly pet that gets very stressed I suggest speaking to your veterinarian as some calming medication might be useful.  There are a number of calming medications available, some by prescription and others without, that can help pets to relax during scary times.
  • Another fantastic product available is the Thundershirt for Dogs.  This is a tight fitting jacket/vest that works by applying firm and constant pressure. This is proven to soothe the dogs nervous system and help to relieve anxiety. They are very popular for helping to lower anxiety levels associated with many situations such as travel, separation , moving house, storms and fireworks. For more information on Thundershirts watch our YouTube video here.
  • Ensure that all fences and gates are in good condition and locked. Check that there are no places for pets to easily escape from.  For horses and paddock animals, make sure fences are well maintained, gates are locked and that the paddocks are clear of any debris like fallen branches, so if  animals are running around there isn’t anything they might injure themselves on.
  • Make sure that your pets have an ID Tag and are microchipped, with correct contact details, just in case they do go missing.
  • Most important, don’t forget to wish your pets a Happy New Year!!

I would also like to wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year and I look forward to sharing more stories with you next year.

Until next time,

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Author: Bec

From a very young age Bec has always had a great love and appreciation for all animals. Bec is a qualified Veterinary Nurse and also has a Bachelor in Applied Science Animal Studies with special interest in Wildlife and Recreational Animals. Her studies have been put to good use working in various animal industries including small and large animal veterinary clinics, horse studs and the family cattle property. Horses have played an important part in her life, living on a horse stud and caring for horses throughout breeding, foaling, spelling, racing and retirement. Bec is the proud mum of two gorgeous girls, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel, a cheeky cockatiel, chickens and many horses including a naughty little pony.