4-point firework plan for keeping rabbits & guinea pigs calm
September 21, 2022
Typically, rabbits and guinea pigs spend a lot of their life in outdoor hutches, which means fireworks can be extremely frightening for them. Fireworks are not really a seasonal ‘treat’ any more – as they are now on sale all year round – so Vet Nicola Armstrong advises that owners of small furry pets should make a plan as soon as possible to help them cope.
If the advice below doesn’t work for your pet, contact us and we can recommend alternative ways to keep your pet calm, such as the use of pheromone diffusers and sprays.
Nicola’s four-point firework plan
To help keep your rabbit or guinea pig happy and healthy, your plan should combine actions to get them through the noisy season and things that can be rolled out on the day when needed. Follow Nicola’s tick list below:
- Create a noise-dampening refuge: You can’t necessarily predict when there will be noise. Therefore, your small furry pet should always have a safe space that can insulate them from noise. Lots of fresh, clean bedding in a solid structure like a box is best.
- Move them indoors: At times of the year when you know the noise level will rise, (such as the period around bonfire night, Guy Fawkes, and New Year) bring pets inside to a quieter place in your home – perhaps even a garage or shed. It’s going to start getting colder this season in Lanarkshire, so an indoor space will help with this too.
- Mask the noise: If you have a house pet or you’ve brought your pet’s housing inside, you should shut windows, draw curtains, and drop blinds to keep the noise and light show outside. Also, consider turning up the TV or radio to mask the worst of the outside noise. Placing a blanket or duvet over an enclosure in a shed or garage will help keep out noise too – just make sure there is good ventilation still.
- Monitor stress: A change in eating/toileting habits, hiding most of the time, freezing/reluctance to move, appearing nervous/jumpy, sitting hunched, aggression, chewing their cage, intense grooming, or scratching that causes fur to fall out, are common signs of a stressed pet. If your small furry pet is stressed by noise, you should recognise the changes and take action.
What to do if your pet is stressed
If your pet guinea pig or rabbit stops eating or shows other signs of extreme stress, they need to see one of our Woodside Avenue Veterinary Surgeons as a matter of urgency. If you’ve been here before with your pet, maybe last firework season, follow the advice above and if you have any concerns call us on 0141 643 0404. Nicola and the rest of our team have plenty of species-specific advice and can recommend the most appropriate pheromone diffusers, sprays, and other products to help calm your pet.