A dog owner has revealed that her 18-week old puppy has died due to a heart attack that was ‘triggered by fireworks’ after being left petrified.
On Saturday night, Molly the terrier was left terrified after hearing constant fireworks.
Molly’s owner, Susan Paterson announced the devastating news via social media, from her home nearly Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
Susan posted a statement on Facebook: “Due to the enormous amount of fireworks with loud bangs going off around Wombwell and lower Darfield last night, we lost a young terrier with a heart attack.
“Please think of the animals. Molly was only 18 weeks old and died of FRIGHT caused by fireworks.
“We are still trying to make sense of what happened. Dreading the fireworks again tonight.”
Susan ended the statement with a petition that demands a review of firework rules, which would help protect animals from injury and distress – preventing what happened to Molly, happening to any other animals.
The petition declares: “Fireworks can cause serious distress to animals. They don’t only suffer psychologically, but also physically as many attempts to run away from, or hide from, the bangs.
“With extreme noise levels and people being able to let off fireworks any time of year, it’s difficult for those who care for animals to be able to put measures in place to protect their animals.
“This is why I’m calling for an urgent review of firework regulations to further restrict their use, as a step to preventing needless animal suffering.”
The current 2003 Fireworks Act and 2004 Firework Regulations do not enforce enough rules that will protect animals.
The petition running wants to enforce stricter regulations, including requiring all public firework displays to have a license, restricting private use and providing firework packaging that indicates what noise level to expect – which allows more consumer choice.
PDSA, the leading vet charity, has found that 7.3 million cats and dogs are frightened by fireworks, meaning during fireworks season you should expect to find your furry one sat anxious and depressed. Which obviously makes for a distressing sight.
Joanne Wright, a PDSA veterinary nurse, explained further: “Pets have sensitive hearing, so a sudden loud noise to us can be utterly terrifying to them, particularly as they don’t understand the source of the loud bangs and bright flashes.
“When they become scared, their first instinct can be to run from the danger, which means they could easily go missing, putting them at risk of road accidents, getting lost or being injured.”
Due to pets’ fear of fireworks, it can also cause your pets to “physically shake with fear, cry or bark loudly, soil the house, destroy furniture, or in some cases become injured if they’re panicked”.
So, to help divert the attention of your pet from the stress of fireworks throughout the night, follow these helpful tips which should hopefully make it that little bit easier.
1. Research products that release pheromones in order to relieve stress
A PDSA vet has advised that you purchase a pheromone product that can help relieve your pet’s stress: “Pet pheromone products are said to mimic natural cat or dog pheromones and come in various forms, including sprays, plug-in diffusers, wipes, and collars.”
Amazon stocks plenty of affordable products that mean this night can be that little less stressful.
2. Make a safe haven
Make a safe haven for your pet, a cosy den is a great way of easing your pet whilst at home.
PDSA vets say: “A safe place to hide, in a cupboard or behind a sofa, can help pets cope with fear. Pad it with cushions and blankets for soundproofing and give healthy treats and praise when they use it to help build a positive association.”
If you already have a den set up for your pet, then your pet should already think of this as a safe spot to retreat to.
3. Minimise the noise inside
You may not be able to control what noise is happening outside your house, but you can minimise its impact. Try to make your home as soundproof as possible.
Make sure to shut all doors, windows, curtains and if you have a cat flap, keep it sealed.
It also recommended you play music that has a soothing repetitive beat, this can help to mask the noise of the fireworks.
4. Look into behavioral therapy and medication
If you feel that in your case, it is an extreme matter. There are several methods available to help your pet deal with loud noises.
Vets can offer behavioral therapy to your cat or dog that can help your pet develop coping mechanisms.
In worst-case scenarios, your vet could prescribe medication. However, it is vital your vet understands your pet, otherwise, the medication could potentially increase your pet’s fear.
5. Make sure you have a soundproof hutch or cage
If you have an animal such as a rabbit or a guinea pig, you need to remember it is also important to keep them comfortable too during the fireworks.
PDSA vets advice: “For happy bunnies, sound-proof their hutches and outdoor cages by partly covering them with blankets and put in plenty of bedding – this helps keep noise out and gives them somewhere to hide.”
It may also be a good idea to turn your pet’s hutch towards the wall, this way noise and light is limited – just make sure there’s still enough room for ventilation.
6. You too need to stay composed
You need to make sure that you too are composed. Your pet is more likely to stay calm and relaxed if they know that you too feel the same way!
7. Make sure your pet is microchipped
It is wise to doublecheck your pet is microchipped, otherwise, if your pet is frightened due to the fireworks they could run away. Without your pet being microchipped, they will be much more difficult to find.
With a microchip, you are sure to be reunited quickly.
8. Increase your pet’s tolerance to loud noises
A great way to make your pet tolerant of firework sounds is to increase their tolerance to loud noises.
To create a higher tolerance, start playing firework noises faintly in the background. Reward them and gradually, this should build up their loud noise tolerance.
However, this is probably best to take into account for next year as this is something they will learn over several months.
Hopefully, with all these handful tips, it should make yours and your pets’ bonfire night a whole lot more relaxing!