fireworks dogs
Photo Credit: On File

It is almost Fireworks season and once again, people will be looking for ways to protect their beloved animals and help keep them calm.


South Africa (12 October 2020) – Early November is the start of fireworks season around the world. South Africa has strict fireworks laws but laws are not often enforced and so reckless firework usage means many animals spend a total of two weeks living in terror.

We’re officially in the fourth and final quarter of 2020.  With that comes celebratory occasions, often along with fireworks season with many South Africans celebrating Guys Fawkes on Thursday, November 5, and others observing Diwali on Wednesday, November 14, 2020.  Pet parents needn’t fear the festivities this year as Canine and Co has you covered with these handy tips on how to keep your furry companion safe during this time.

Some pets are more sensitive to noise than others. Thanks to modern science and an increase in natural alternatives, your precious fur baby needn’t go through a stressful fireworks season without help. Pet industry specialist Amber Jordan recommends planning ahead.

“It is important to note that with the more natural options, they do not all work with immediate effect and pet parents should be administering these calming ingredients or using these tools for a few weeks before anticipated high-stress scenarios for them to be fully effective,” she says. 

Below are some easy tips from Canine & Co for preparing for the days where fireworks will be used. If these methods are not enough, you can reach out to your vet or local pet store for medical advice or products to combat the panic and create calming environments.

If you want to go a step further, reach out to your local animal shelter and find out if they need anything leading up to the two week period.

  • Exercise your dog early in the day and ensure they are kept inside in a safe place where they cannot escape if frightened by sudden loud noises.
  • Keep the windows closed and curtains drawn, and turn on a radio or television to help mask the sound of fireworks.
  • If they have to be let out into the garden after dark, it is best to place them on a lead and keep the outing brief.  You may need to consider providing a litter tray so that your cat has a choice about whether they go out or not.
  • Ensure there is a safe place for your pet to hide as this is a natural survival instinct. Ideally, this would need to be a place where the noise is minimised but, your pet may already have a favourite hiding place that you should make available and comfortable for this time. If not, create a den with a box, in a cupboard, or under a table or chair and use blankets and bedding to protect this area from the noise as much as possible. Set this up in advance of the fireworks. Never try to lure your pet out if they retreat to this place during the fireworks, wait until they are ready.
  • Some pets feel more secure if they can sit with you. This is fine and won’t cause the fear to worsen. Stay calm and offer your companionship support. Be ready to offer a toy or treat if they relax enough to engage in this way.
  • Try not to react to the fireworks yourself. If they frighten you, your pet will feel more alarmed. Try to act normally, and where possible, engage your pet in a favourite game or reward them with treats just as the noises begin.
  • Remember that wherever your pets are in the home, they will need access to freshwater. Anxious dogs often pant more and therefore, may be thirstier than normal. Do not try to make your pet drink if they are fearful, just ensure access to water is possible.
  • Ensure that your pet is microchipped and the chipping company has a current address or phone number on their system. Also ensure they are wearing a collar with an ID tag, just in case they do accidentally escape, it will help to ensure you and your pet are reunited as quickly as possible.
  • If your pet struggles to cope this year, do not leave it and hope that next year is better. Seek advice from an experienced professional as behaviour programmes can help your pet to reduce their sensitivity to noises and prevent the fear from escalating into something much more severe.

Source: Canine & Co
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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