As the end of the year is approaching and most people are getting ready for the yearly festive of spectacular fireworks, take a moment to take into account how the booming sounds of those beautiful sights may have an impact on most pets.
While not all pets are scared of fireworks, over half a million of people has signed a petition to review firework rules to protect animals from injury and distress. In November 2019, an 18 weeks old puppy died after getting a heart attack that was triggered by fireworks. Another sad owner, claims her rabbit went into shock caused by fireworks and died the following morning. On UK’s Bonfire night, a horse was stuck on a fence after being spooked by fireworks.
You may be wondering why pets are scared of fireworks. Firstly, pets can have very sensitive hearing. Not only does loud fireworks, or other loud noises in general, make them terrified, but it can actually hurt their ears. Secondly, it’s a complete surprise and comes unanticipated. Just like humans can get surprised or scared when something unexpected happens, so can pets; the sound of fireworks can be unusual and alarming to pets. Thirdly, the smell of fireworks and the smoke they often leave behind can be dangerous, toxic, and may cause anxiety. If there are any fireworks lying around, do not let your pets play with them, or even smell them.
Like previously mentioned, this does not apply to all pets. Some, while a very minimum amount, run around curiously to find the sound and play or bark, as if it’s a stranger on the street or a car passing by. If this is your case, you’re one of the lucky ones.
But, if you have pets that are terrified of fireworks, here’s what you can do:
Try to get them used beforehand. You know of the popular holidays when Fireworks are being displayed. A month in advance, play some fireworks background music for one hour every day to get your pet used to the sound.
Put up a sign outside. It’s easy to blame your neighbors for their actions, however, they can be completely unaware of what your pets go through. Telling them or putting up a sign on your windows may make them aware and considerate.
Distract your pets. Keep them active by turning the TV or music on. Buy a new toy for them, or play with them while giving them their favorite treats. This is a short-term solution. Of course, you cannot do this during the entire Firework event.
Keep them in a safe place. While some people think it’s smart to leash their pets, it’s not recommended at all. Pets can harm themselves while trying to run away. Build a safe space that’s comfortable, has treats, and their toys. If they are used to being in kennels, it can be your best bet; they know it’s their safe haven.
Anxiety Wrap jackets or sedation. With some pets, nothing works. If this is the case, try to get sedatives to calm them down or have them sleep. Of course, consult their vets. The Anxiety Wraps are also common, and can be used yearly as a jacket for your pet.
In 2018, Ford released a prototype for a noise-cancelling kennel. While this was perceived as a good idea and received a lot of interest, some people claimed it'd be, "As expensive as their cars." However, there hasn't been much news since.
If you don’t have pets, you can also help! By being considerate and communicative to your neighbors, you can help their pets. Communicate with your neighbors if you are planning to set off fireworks during unusual hours, especially during daytime – for example on December 27th at 6 in the evening instead of 31st of December at midnight. This is not only respectful, but it displays character. Also, do read the laws concerning fireworks in your area!
There are many other solutions on how to keep pets safe during Fireworks displays. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to do something and be considerate of those around you. Do not ignore your pets and, above all, do not question or scold them for acting abnormally. Most of the time, they are just scared and do not know how to act.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.