Advice for pet owners ahead of fireworks

Pet lovers advised to be prepared for fireworks season.

With large-scale bonfire events scrapped this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is warning that household firework displays may be more popular than ever this winter.

Fireworks, as well as noisy celebrations such as Halloween, Diwali, Christmas and New Year are all identified as occasions which can cause stress for pets – and, in turn, an anxious time for owners.

Dr Hannah Pegram (pictured), a vet from Blacks Vets, which has practices in Lye, Oldbury, Sedgley and Quinton, as well as an animal hospital in Dudley, said: “This is the most challenging time of year for pet owners, as there are so many potential triggers of stress in animals coming up over the next few months.

“There are the bangs of fireworks, the noisy and hectic festive season – including unfamiliar faces and smells – and, of course, this year with public events largely unable to go ahead, we could well see many more small-scale displays.

“All of these can cause stress in our pets and while some owners will seek guidance and advice, we also know there are many others who just suffer through this period.

“There are a lot of things pet owners can do to help their animals though, such as distracting them with active play, the television or some calm, soothing music.

“We’d also recommend owners of young dogs who are experiencing their first Halloween, Bonfire Night and fireworks season begin a programme of counter-conditioning with the first firework.

“However, one of our top recommendations for pet owners is to remain calm. While it may be tempting to comfort a spooked cat or dog, this can actually be counter-productive.

“If owners appear to be unaffected, pets will feel more secure and confident. Some pets could also benefit from pheromone diffusers and nutritional supplements.”

Blacks Vets’ advice to dog owners

• Walk your dog before dark – make sure your dog is well exercised and has had a toilet break before the fireworks begin
• Feed your dog before the fireworks begin as they may become unsettled and not want to eat during the fireworks
• Make sure your house and garden are secure during the fireworks as fear may make your dog try to escape
• Try to settle your dog before the fireworks start – if your dog is in familiar safe surroundings it will help them cope with the noise