As the season of fireworks looms, many pet owners begin to worry about the effect on their pets. Many animals including Rabbits, Guinea pigs and Chinchillas have exceptional hearing and can hear a wider range of frequencies than humans as well as pick up sounds from a considerable distance away. Although we cannot stop everyone enjoying the fun and excitement of firework season we can plan ahead and make sure our animals feel as safe as can be.
Yes, you guessed it, we are going to recommend hay! Hay is great for bedding and making a little more available is great to create buffer for the unwanted noise – it will also provide additional warmth during the darker, colder months. Straw can also be used as a bedding and a way to give pets a safe place to hide, nestle and burrow. In the wild rabbits and guinea pigs would use their natural prey instincts and stay in their burrows when they felt threatened so it is important we try to give them similar opportunities so they can make themselves feel safe when their environment feels different and they risk of threat increases. If you have indoor buns, ensure curtains and blinds are closed. Guinea pigs and Rabbits have a wide range of vision due to the positioning of their eyes so keeping out the firework flashes will further ensure your pet feels safe and secure.
Play low level background noise such as the TV or radio to help sooth your paw pal. It sounds a bit odd to add more noise however, low level constant noise will act as a sound barrier to the loud, erratic bangs and squeals of fireworks. Remember their hearing is sensitive so keep any noise low level to ensure they don’t become overwhelmed.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
We try to avoid changing locations for pets, especially is they are outdoor pets. However if your outdoor enclosure cannot be suitably shielded from the sounds and sights of fireworks we would suggest bringing the enclosure inside overnight or having lap time in the evening while events are taking place.Fireworks can start as early as 4.30pm as the nights draw in, so get your pet inside early evening and get them settled. If you cannot bring the enclosure indoors, limit the access to the external runs and ensure hides are equipped with all their favourite things so they don't have to leave their safe place.
As nights draw in and evenings get darker lots of us find ourselves snuggling down for the evening in front of the TV with a bowl of snacks and a cosy blanket. Your pet might like to do the same, provide them with their favourite toys or possibly a new one, a bowl of their favourite treats and comfy bed and you will find they take comfort from their creature comforts.
As social creatures, a well socialised pet will benefit from being close to their paw pal or snuggling with their hu-mum or dad. Keeping your pet close will help keep them calm and serve as a distraction, consider some extended lap time or time indoors to help them relax.
CALM BREEDS CALM
It can often be difficult not to feel anxious around this time of year when you have small pets you are worrying about. However, our pets are in tune with our emotions and often sense when we are unsettled, so our top tip for a calm pet, is a calm owner – particularly if you are having cuddles.
For more advice on how to keep your rabbits, Guinea pigs and furry friends safe, check out the RSPCA website How To Keep Your Pets Safe During Fireworks | RSPCA