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How to keep your pets calm and safe during fireworks season

A HERTFORDSHIRE veterinary practice is preparing for an increase in calls from worried owners whose pets are terrified of fireworks.

The bangs and flashes of fireworks start in the run up to Halloween, Bonfire Night and often continue for several weeks, before resuming during New Year’s Eve celebrations, causing misery for many owners and their pets.

Now Mimram Vets is urging owners to prepare early before fireworks season gets underway to keep their pets calm and has issued tips for owners whose cats and dogs suffer noise phobia.

Mimram Vets is encouraging clients to contact the practice for advice on ways to prevent pets becoming stressed and anxious.

The surgery also recommends that cats and dogs are kept safely indoors during fireworks season to prevent injury and stress, while windows and doors should be kept shut to prevent them bolting through fear. Dogs should also wear collars and tags, while microchips should be up to date so they can be reunited with their owner if they do run away.

Veterinary Surgeon Regina Andritta said: “With the fireworks season stretching over several weeks, this can be a difficult time for pets and their owners. Our advice is to think ahead so you can keep them happy, safe and comfortable.

“Dogs should not be left alone during this time and even pets that have previously shown no fear can become sensitive, so it is advisable to speak to your vet for advice.

“Providing a safe place where they can hide, like a den, is a good idea and talking to your veterinary practice about any suitable medications.”

Playing music can help to calm pets showing signs of fireworks phobia. Using a CD of fireworks noises to gradually get them used to the sound in the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night so your pet learns there’s nothing to be afraid of may help.

With advice from vets, pheromones, which are available as diffusers, releasing scent undetectable to humans, can have a calming, reassuring effect on pets and can be used for several weeks leading up to fireworks season.

Mimram Vets has issued tips to owners to keep their pets safe and calm:

1. Keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off.
2. Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before fireworks start.
3. Close windows and doors and block off catflaps to stop pets escaping.
4. Draw the curtains and block out the noise of fireworks with TV or radio.
5. Make sure dogs are wearing collars and tags in case they bolt and ensure microchip details are up to date so they can be quickly reunited with you.
6. Avoid leaving your pet home alone in the evenings when fireworks are going off.
7. Keep calm and reassure your pet to make them feel safe and secure. Shouting at a frightened pet will only make them more stressed.
8. Prepare a safe place or ‘den’ where your pet can hide when fireworks start so they feel safe and comfortable.
9. Cover rabbit hutches or aviaries with blankets to block out sight of fireworks and reduce sound of bangs.
10. Bring hutches or cages indoors, if possible, or into a garage or shed.