How you and your pet can both enjoy New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is typically a time of fun, frolics and fireworks. Many celebrate with friends and family, ending the year with a bang. However fun it may be for humans, New Year’s Eve can be a time of stress and anxiety for our pets. Dogs, cats and rabbits are particularly sensitive to noise. At 150 decibels, fireworks can be as loud as a jet engine and can be very frightening and upsetting for pets.

Approximately 1 in 14 vets across the country reported seeing animals with firework-related injuries throughout 2018. This was published in the British Veterinary Association’s ‘Voice of the Veterinary Profession’ survey last December. Commonly reported cases were of self-injuries caused by firework-related anxiety, such as a dog who attempted to escape from its kennel and in the process, pulled out its front teeth.

BVA President and small animal vet, Daniella Dos Santos said: “Fireworks phobia and distress in pets is an issue that vets often see around New Year’s Eve. Even if you don’t expect your pet to be anxious, consider making things as comfortable as possible for them to help them through the evening.”

Pets kept in cages and tanks such as hamsters, ferrets, fish, and birds are also exposed to distress when there are large crowds of people, smoke or loud music in the home.

Signs of distress can vary from animal to animal with some pets showing obvious signs such as panting, drooling and attempts to escape, and others showing more indirect signs including restlessness and toileting in the house. Cats often hide while rabbits may keep very still and thump the ground with their back feet.

Daniella explained some methods that may help distressed pets: “There are various things that owners can do to help their pets, including providing your pet with a cosy, dark den to help them feel safe, closing curtains and turning the lights off. “If you are having a party, remember to move any small pets in cages or tanks to a quiet area of the house.”

Daniella added: “If your pet is significantly distressed by fireworks, we’d encourage you to speak to your local vet as early as possible to discuss possible treatment options that may help in the long term.”Remember to check the out of hours, emergency opening times for the Christmas period.”

Information provided by the RSPCA on how to keep your pets safe can be found here.

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