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The bright lights and big bangs of fireworks are fun for MOST of the family, but for your dog or cat, they can be very stressful. While you’re out on the porch enjoying the fiery display, your family pet is most likely hiding under a bed, in a closet or cowering in a dark space.
The stress brought on from fireworks can lead to pets running away and in some cases, needing anxiety medication. Unfortunately for your furry friend, fireworks and the loud noises that come with them are not going to go away, but there are steps you can take to minimise the fear and discomfort they cause.
Here are a few simple tips to keep your pet safe and happy when the sky is banging.
1. The way you act has an enormous influence on your pet – act calm and happy, and don’t fuss over your pet too much. They will likely follow your lead.
2. If you have a dog ensure that you walk it before the fireworks start – tiring dogs out will help them relax.
3. If your pet usually sleeps outside, bring them inside for the night.
4. Leave your pet in a room of the house that can be closed off and made as comfortable as possible by closing windows and blinds. Playing music and/or keeping the television on in this room can help to create a sound environment that your pet is familiar with, and will help block out the noise of the fireworks.
5. Scratch pads, chewy treats and toys are great for keeping your animal distracted while the fireworks are on.
6. Set aside a space in the ‘safe room’ where your pet can sleep. Using blankets or old clothes that smell familiar will help your pet to feel much more comfortable. Often pets feel safer under a bed – this is perfectly normal behaviour, so don’t worry about it too much unless they are still extremely distressed.
7. Place a bowl of food and water in the room to ensure they don’t get dehydrated or hungry.
8. If your pet is visibly anxious, staying in the room with them and acting calm will help to reduce their anxiety levels.
9. If fireworks have been on your property, remember to clean up any leftover debris – it isn’t safe for your pet.
10. If you can, move rabbit hutches and bird aviaries into a garage or carport. If this isn’t possible, cover with a light cloth.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet on fireworks nights or any other pet-related issue, Purina New Zealand offers a FREE advice service at 0800 PET VIP (0800 738 847). A dedicated team of pet care experts, including veterinary nurses and animal behaviourists, are available to offer advice and support on a wide range of pet care questions, from anxiety and behaviour, to health and nutrition, training and , as well as information about Purina products.