We all know the unnecessary distress Fireworks cause to pets and wildlife. Anna Webb shares her thoughts on the campaign to regulate and restore balance, and some tips for keeping you pets safe as we welcome the New Year.
Fireworks - Bang Out Of Order
Whether you’re living in the town or the country, there’s no evading the Fireworks onslaught. Thousands of pet parents will be dreading New-Year’s eve, having experienced Bonfire night with their ‘pandemic’ pups for the first time.
The RSPCA revealed that 62% pet parents confirmed their pet showed signs of distress at fireworks being an acute ‘environmental stressor’.
Lobbying Government with its #BangOutOfOrder campaign, the Charity wants change, bringing in regulation not only to protect pets, but wildlife and farm animals too.
Whilst 85% pet parents concur with the charity’s proposed regulations, they have to date fallen on deaf ears in Parliament.
If Fireworks were restricted to specific dates including New Year’s Eve, and The Chinese New Year, pet parents could plan and minimise the fear caused.
Another bone of contention is that displays remain unlicensed and Fireworks manufacturers’ unresponsive to demands either to reduce the decibels of their products, or make them noiseless, massively reducing the fear-factor to animals.
Whilst the snap, crackle and pop of displays is entertaining to humans it causes fear, excessive stress, injuries even death to many animals every year.
It’s the sounds of Fireworks that are inaudible to the human ear: the high and low frequencies that cause the most fear in animals.
According to the RSPCA 45% of dogs in the UK suffer from some degree of noise sensitivity, which means that around six million pooches will be cowering in fear during the season of cheer.
Cats and Fireworks
Cats are even more prone to erratic noises, flashing lights, and explosions. For cats allowed outdoors, unregulated sporadic private displays are a huge worry, with cats bolting, going missing for days, or worse.
Being unable to plan or ensure your cat is locked up indoors before the onslaught causes stress for the whole family. At least if displays were restricted to certain days, it would allow pet parents some control to do their best for their furkids.
It goes without saying to bring outdoor cats indoors on New Year’s Eve: barricade the cat flap. Draw curtains, close blinds to keep out any flashing lights.
Top Tips for keeping your Pets Safe and Calm
Turn up the television or the radio and stay at home with your furkids. Try and remain calm and carry on as normal. Work on distraction tactics like preparing a selection of tasty KONGs to occupy your pooch.
Offer both cats and dogs a safe place to go and hide if they want. A crate covered in blankets can provide a secure den for dogs. Your cat might have bagged a corner in your wardrobe or under your bed.
Tap into your dog’s super olfaction as a distraction. Perhaps roast a chicken - create lots of distracting aromas to waft around. Even stuff Kongs with warm chicken meat, and save the bones for a nourishing chicken broth.
There’s a variety of calming solutions on the market like Pet Remedy’s herbal diffuser that omits a natural calming aroma that works on humans too.
Equafleece’s dog T-shirt offers a swaddling effect on anxious dogs, calming and soothing with soft body pressure. Whilst RelaxoPet’s clever sound system emits sound frequencies that resonate calming signals to relax and soothe.
Settle on the sofa – encourage a calm environment, maybe watch a favourite movie. Dogs and cats can smell our rising cortisol levels. It’s important not to add to their anxiety, so stay calm and think of your dog.
Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Author, has studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence a Miniature Bull Terrier, Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier and Gremlin her rescued street cat. www.annawebb.co.uk