Exercise your dog early in the day and ensure they are kept inside in a safe place where they cannot escape if frightened by sudden loud noises. If they have to be let out into the garden after dark, it is best to place them on a lead and keep the outing brief. You may need to consider providing a litter tray so that your cat has a choice about whether they go out or not.
Keep the windows closed and curtains drawn, and turn on a radio or television to help mask the sound of fireworks.
Ensure there is a safe place for your pet to hide (a natural survival instinct) and stay safe. Ideally this would be in a place where the noise is minimised but your pet may already have a favourite hiding place that you should make available for this time. If not, create a den with a box, in a cupboard, or under a table/chair and use blankets and bedding to protect this area from the noise as much as possible. Set this up in advance of the fireworks and teach them that nice things happen in this place. Never try to lure your pet out if they retreat to this place during the fireworks, wait until they are ready.
Try not to react to the fireworks yourself. If they frighten you, your pet will feel more alarmed. Try to act normally, and where possible engage your pet in a favourite game or with treats just as the noises begin.
Some pets feel more secure if they can sit with you. This is fine and won’t cause the fear to worsen. Stay calm and offer your companionship as support. Be ready to offer a toy or treat if they relax enough to engage in this way.
Remember that wherever your pets are in the home they need access to fresh water. Anxious dogs often pant more and therefore may be thirstier than normal. Do not try to make your pet drink if they are fearful, just ensure access to water is possible.
Ensure that your pet is microchipped, and wearing a collar with an ID tag, just in case they do accidentally escape. Not only is this a legal requirement but it will help to ensure you and your pet are reunited as quickly as possible.
If your pet struggles to cope this year do not leave it and hope that next year is better. Seek advice from an experienced professional as behaviour programmes can help your pet to reduce their sensitivity to noises and prevent the fear from escalating into something much more severe.
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