Does your pet struggle to cope with fireworks? It is estimated that approximately 45% of dogs do, which isn't surprising when you consider the loud noises and bright flashes they make. We are able to understand what they are and why the skies light up every November, but, to cats and dogs, fireworks are unfamiliar and threatening occurences.
Many pet owners admit to being unable to help their pets cope, either because the pet's fear is extreme, or because they simply don't know what measures to take to reduce the fear. When we are fearful, we will often retreat somewhere quiet and comfortable - a safe space, if you like. Animals are no different and need somewhere similar to retreat to when things get too much.
An important step in tackling firework fear is creating a haven or den in the home. This needs to be an area where your pet feels relaxed and secure. Maybe there's already somewhere your pet naturally gravitates to when feeling threatened or unsure. Make this space as cosy and comfortable as you can to encourage your pet to use it.
If there's no existing area where your pet likes to go, create one! Use a bed or crate and fill it with soft blankets and cushions. Place your dog's favourite toy in there, along with drinking water. Ideally the crate should go under a table or a bed - somewhere slightly concealed from view - but if that's not possible, cover it with a blanket or bedsheet to provide some privacy and reduce some of the noise disturbance. The darker and quieter, the better.
To make the den even more inviting, spray it with Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats) to help promote feelings of calm and contentment. These products also come as room diffusers and have a similar effect. Pet Remedy has blends of essential oils which help calm the nerves of animals affected by firework fear. The plug-in diffuser is ideal for dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, rodents and birds.
When it comes to creating a den, the sooner you do it, the better. Your pet needs a chance to get used to the area and accept it as a safe place. Make sure the den is accessible at all times so your pet can visit it even when you're not at home. If you have any advice on creating the perfect safe haven for your pet, please share it with below our other readers! :)
Written by: Hannah Dyball