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Helping your Dog or Rabbit during the Firework season.

Eighty percent of owners notice a change in their dog’s behaviour during the firework season and nearly half say that their dogs are scared by them. Dogs have much better hearing than us so loud bangs can be deafening to them!

Although many working gundogs are desensitised to loud noise, the combination of this and bright flashes can be stressful.

Here are some tips for helping them cope. 

  • Exercise them before the peak time in the evening. If they need to go out during, keep them on a lead so they do not bolt.
  • Allow them space to hide if needed. If they use a crate or kennel, cover the outside with a blanket.
  • Thunder shirts or an old t-shirt placed on your dog often has a secure and calming effect.
  • Having background noise on, such as a radio, can help dull out the background noise. Classic FM will be holding two special programmes specifically for pets, called Pet’s Classics from 5pm to 9pm on Friday 4 November and Saturday 5 November, when firework season is in its peak, for the most calming music.
  • Occupying toys, such as a Kong, can be filled with Chudleys dry food to give your dog something to focus on.

  • Calming plug ins or bandanas are available that release special calming pheromones.

If you find that your dog is really struggling, then speak with your vet who can give you further options such as a referral to a behavioural therapist who could help with desensitisation, or calming remedies.

Spent fireworks and sparklers

Old or spent fireworks contain dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to your dog. The chemicals used in fireworks can cause a range of effects that often start with gastrointestinal problems. More serious effects can include fitting, breathing problems and problems with their kidneys or liver. If there have been fireworks in your area, always check your garden for spent parts of fireworks on the morning after.

Glow sticks and luminous bracelets

The liquid inside these glowing items is an irritant and, if eaten, can cause your dog to dribble or froth at the mouth, give them a stomach ache or could make them sick. Strangely enough, these items are particularly attractive to cats, so make sure to keep them away from any feline friends as well.

How to keep rabbits calm during fireworks

Rabbits can also suffer from stress during this period and have even been known to die of fright when fireworks are set off near their home.

Owners can really help by ensuring their pets are as calm and comfortable as possible on and around firework events.

There are several steps rabbit owners can take to help protect their rabbit during fireworks. These include:

  • Bringing your rabbit housing inside. If this isn’t possible, partly cover housing with blankets so that they have some soundproofing (while making sure they have enough ventilation).
  • Soundproof your house by closing windows and drawing curtains. 
  • Providing background “white noise” such as the TV, radio or other music — well in advance of the fireworks starting.
  • Ensuring secure, safe places in housing with plenty of bedding — this will help keep noise out and provide a hiding place to help them feel safe.
  • Making sure they’re not alone. Rabbits are social animals so try to make sure they’re with someone they’re familiar with.
  • Occupying toys can also help such as, a Kong filled with Chudleys Rabbit food or a Lickimat sprinkled with Chudleys Rabbit Royale.
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