Fireworks can be exciting and fun for us humans, but for our guinea pigs this time of year can be very stressful and upsetting for them. Sudden loud noises, bangs, whistles and flashes of bright light can terrify guineas, and in the worst cases can bring on a stress related heart attack, so it is important that you take steps to try and minimise any fear and distress that fireworks may cause to your piggies.
If your guinea pigs live outside we would recommend bringing them indoors during times when fireworks may be going off. However, please be aware that sudden changes of temperature can be dangerous – so if the weather is freezing and you bring your piggies in for a couple of nights, be very careful putting them back outside if it’s very cold.
If you can’t bring the hutch indoors, then turn it around so that it faces a wall, and put a heavy blanket or tarpaulin on top to cut out the light and reduce noise (but be sure to leave plenty of ventilation).
Provide plenty of ‘hideys’ in the hutch- cardboard boxes stuffed with hay and with hole cut out for them to hide in, tubes and tunnels, large piles of hay to burrow in so that they can feel secure and safe.Although you may not be able to stop them feeling frightened, you can help them deal with the situation.
Close all curtains, windows and doors to muffle sounds and lights
Put a radio or television on – it won’t drown the noise of fireworks out com-pletely, but will help deaden the sounds
Make sure your guinea pig has a companion to keep him company and provide support and security. Guinea pigs take comfort in having members of their own species around during stressful times, and companionship is the big-gest protector against fear in guinea pigs.
If your guinea pigs are housed in a shed,place blankets up against the windows to keep out the light and muffle sounds. Again,leave a radio on if possible and ensure venti-lation is unaffected.
Provide plenty of their favourite treats and nibbles to keep them occupied and take their minds off what’s happening outside
Keep handling to a minimum and try to remain calm at all times so that your guinea pigs do not sense that something is ‘wrong’.
If you want to see the fireworks,go to an organised display rather than having fireworks in your own garden,and encourage your neighbours to do the same
Finally, have fun during the firework season, but make sure your pets are kept safe and secure.