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We love fireworks but the unexpected noises, vibrations and flashes of light terrify many pets.


We know that many pets hate fireworks season.

We can help your pet cope.

 

As I write at the end of September, Fireworks night seems a long way away. Unfortunately, many of our pets really hate this time of year and are terrified of the bangs and the whooshes that the start of November brings.

 

For many animals, noise phobias are a year round problem which culminate in a really miserable couple of weeks as the nights draw in. We have a few top tips that may help your pet cope better with what should be a fun time of year.

 

  1. Consider use of an Adaptil (Dogs) or Feliway (Cats) pheromone plug in for a few weeks before November 5th and throughout the firework period. These look like room air fresheners but emit an odourless chemical messenger that helps to calm nervous and anxious pets.

  2. Try using a calming supplement, which can come in a liquid or capsule form. There are several available, but we think that Calmex, KalmAid and Zylkene seem to be the most effective.

  3. Keeping music on during the evening or use of a washing machine and tumble drier on a spin cycle may help disguise the noise and vibrations associated with fireworks. Most pets are accustomed to the noise that these machines make and find them non threatening.

  4. Try not to pander to your pet if they display signs of anxiety. Unfortunately, many animals interpret extra attention as a positive reinforcement that there is indeed something to be afraid of. If your pet just looks slightly worried it is better that you just behave in a very relaxed and normal way without paying them any attention- your dog looks to you for guidance on how to behave- if you are relaxed your dog is more likely to be relaxed. Once your dog is really distressed this behaviour from you has much less influence.

  5. Dogs and cats both like to hide if they feel threatened and this may actually make them feel calmer. So if your dog or cat seeks out a quiet corner or under a bed then allow them to do so. Provide them with a soft bed in the area and consider creating a “den” for them which may well allow them to settle down until the noise has disappeared.

  6. If you think your pet has a noise phobia, then come and see your Vet! Whilst sedative drugs are very rarely appropriate for pets, we may be able to prescribe medications which will stop your pet remembering that they have been such a stressful event and calm them down. Noise phobias can be controlled by use of desensitising programs, typically on CD or via I tunes downloads can be really helpful in dealing with the underlying problems, and it's not too late to start these in the next week or two.

  7. 'Thundershirts' are a great “medication free” way to help your dog or cat feel more secure whilst the booms and bangs are going off. Getting the right size is a little tricky though, so we suggest that you could come down to one of our surgeries and we'll fit your dog or cat with the right size so they're snug and secure.

  8. Taking your dog for a good walk in the afternoon, whilst it is still light, and letting them run around may be a good way of burning of extra energy and making them naturally sleepy in the early evening when most fireworks are going off is a good idea. Feeding them in the early evening, may also help this especially if you can feed them a meal which is high in carbohydrate such as rice or pasta. Encouraging cats to stay indoors in the early evening is also sensible- perhaps you could tempt them in and lock the cat flap, but make sure they have access to a litter tray and are comfortable using it.

  9. Finally make sure your pet is microchipped so that if he or she does get startled by a loud noise and run away that we can identify him.

     

    If we can be of any help – please contact the surgery. We hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable fireworks night, free from fear!