Catherine wheels, rockets and firecrackers – fun for some, but a nightmare for many pet owners. Most of us know dogs are scared of fireworks, but what about our small pets? Any member of our fur family can experience noise anxiety during fireworks season, and it is particularly problematic for outdoor pets like bunnies and guinea pigs.
This year we are set to see a big increase in backyard firework displays as public events are cancelled. To help you get prepared, the team at Supreme has put together top tips for a calmer Bonfire night and beyond.
- Rabbit relocation – Bring your pets indoors if possible, as this can significantly reduce their exposure to excessive light and sound from fireworks. Ideally, this needs to be somewhere that isn’t too warm, as your pet will be used to the outside temperatures. A shed or garage may be suitable, but not one that is used for cars as these can give off harmful fumes when the engine is started up.
- Extra insulation – Consider a hutch cover if you can’t bring your bun or cavies indoors. This will act as a handy layer of noise-proofing. Make sure that you take care to consider ventilation, and check the temperature isn’t becoming too warm under the added layer. For indoor pets, close windows and curtains to block out some of the sound.
- Turn around – Face the open side of a hutch towards a garden fence, if outdoors, or away from any windows if inside. This will help to block out the flashes of light.
- Hay helps! – Not just super tasty and high in fibre, hay is also relaxing to munch. Plus, it’s a great at helping to muffle out sound. Read our guide to types of hay for rabbits and guinea pigs here.
- Keep calm – Do your best to stay calm, as pets will pick up on our own emotions. There are also some great pheromone sprays available, particularly for rabbits, that will help them stay relaxed.
- Radio and TV – Playing a radio or TV for quiet background sound may help. However, take care the volume isn’t too high as the vibrations from this can increase your pet’s stress levels.
- Hide-outs – Create plenty of hiding spots that feel safe and secure. These can be filled with hay, and a few treats to encourage foraging, and act as a distraction.
- Playtime – Your pet might not feel like playing right now, but it’s great to give them the option by encouraging natural behaviours of exploring something new. This can help to distract them from the loud bangs. Your local pet shop will have some fab options, or you can DIY with our handy guide.
- Microchip – Ask your local vet clinic about getting your pet microchipped so they can be reunited more easily if they escape due to firework noise. Never leave your small pet in their outdoor run during fireworks, as this can lead to high levels of stress and make them more likely to flee.
- Regular checks and signs of stress – Get familiar with signs of stress and check on your pet frequently. This involves reading body-language: ears flattened against their body, a tense or ‘frozen’ body posture, lack of nose twitching. Some guinea pig noises like a purr, shriek or chattering teeth can also be indicators. However, many of the signs are more subtle. Stressed pets can go off their food, which can rapidly lead to serious health problems such as dehydration and gut stasis. Speak to your vet practice and local pet retailer for advice if your pet is regularly showing signs of stress.
We hope that this guide helps you, your honey-bunnies and perfect piggies get through the challenges of the next few months. We’d love you to share your own top tips for surviving fireworks season. Share the word and remember to tag us in your social media posts: