Either love them or hate them, there's no doubt that from now until the end of January (at the earliest!), there will be a barrage of explosions somewhere in the country most weekends….and often week nights too.
For many children (young or old!) they are a source of fun and wonder, but for many they can be anything from a mild nuisance to a night of absolute terror.
And sadly, for most animals, fireworks fall into that absolute terror category.
Welfare for Animals
It’s unlikely fireworks will be controlled or limited anytime soon (though there are several petitions online for those with an interest to look into this), but fortunately there are a number of things that pet owners can do to help minimise the stress and fear their animals may feel.
We’ve listed below a number of suggestions - and whilst we are focused on small animals (of course!) most of our suggestions can also be applied to others great or small too.
Here’s our top tips for a happier few months ahead.
For those living outside, block out the firework flashes - accommodation can be covered (but leave good airflow), and by keeping outside lights on where possible, any flashes making it through the covers will be further reduced in intensity.
An easy way of giving light outside is to use a battery operated light or torch you don’t have an outside light where your little ones are.
If your little ones are indoors, close windows and curtains to reduce sounds and flashes.
Help mask loud noises by having a radio or TV on (mind all the wires, of course, or use a battery operated radio). A sudden loud bang is more scary in the quiet, less so when there are other sounds around.
There are a number of calming products available - Pet Remedy works with most animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, horses and iguanas!
Heat pads will help them feel comfy and cosy if they’re outside. Give them space away from the heat pad too, so they can choose what they prefer.
If the hutch can be relocated temporarily in the garage overnight (assuming no car fumes etc!), or in a shed/outhouse then this will help reduce the effect of sudden noise and lights.
Some animals, such as rabbits, can go into gut stasis when highly stressed; it is wise to have emergency vet out of hours phone numbers handy in case you need to call.
Having products such as Recovery/Critical care on hand for rabbits and others is a wise precaution also.
Provide an escape box for somewhere to hide in if it all gets too much for outside animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Fill the box with lots of hay and straw, so they can snuggle down and hide.
Provide new toys and fresh hay to forage around in - something new to investigate can be a great distraction!
Reassure them, and be with them through the worst if you can; a familiar, calming voice and face will help!
Whilst it’s great to spend time reassuring them, don’t be tempted to overload them with unhealthy treats - an overload of treats may help to trigger a digestive upset if they are already quite stressed.
Have a word with your neighbours if you’re able to - if you know when they’re likely to have their fireworks, you can focus your attention on the ‘critical’ evenings.
If displays are happening very close, check the garden for rogue fireworks - they can be a nibble or fire hazard!
Help is Available
Our qualified Animal Medicines Advisor is on hand if you have any queries - and don't forget if you have any worries or concerns about the health of your little ones, contact your vet in the first instance.