With firework season just around the corner it’s time for those of us with pets to consider how to help them cope. We will be holding a fireworks phobia information evening at our Newport Practice on Wednesday 11th October at 18:30pm. Our vets will be offering useful and practical advice and there will be products available that will help assist with their anxiety. Nibbles and drinks will also be provided and we would love to see you all there.
However much we all love fireworks, it’s estimated that around 45% of our pets’ exhibit signs of fear, stress and anxiety when they hear those loud bangs and screeches. So what should you do to help them cope?
Firstly create a refuge, a safe place your dog can go to escape and get away from these noises. This can be any quiet room with few windows that your dog is always able to get to but not get trapped in. You could consider the use of pheromone diffusers such as Adaptil or Feliway (CEVA) which release an odourless chemical from a plug in device that makes your pet feel comforted and safe. Plug this in ahead of time, near the den you have made. Get your dog used to going to this refuge in the run up to firework season by giving him something tasty when he is in there so he learns it is always a good place to go! Make it comfortable by placing blankets for him to dig and burrow in to hide, and also food and water. Chews and chew toys are a must
as chewing will reduce his tension and provide a good distraction. Always make sure curtains are closed to hide the flashes of fireworks.
In the daytime, walk your dogs and tire them out as much as you can! Encourage them to toilet before it goes dark, to prevent being caught outside when the fireworks begin. Cats and those small furry pets that live outside should be brought indoors if possible. If not, adding blankets and towels to one area of the hutch can help with sound proofing, so long as you ensure that your pet can still see out.
When fireworks start calmly lead your dog to his refuge. Don’t get angry with him if he is scared and don’t try to soothe your dog as this gives the impression there is something to be scared of. Try to keep him in a happy positive mood by playing games and don’t react to the noises yourself.
Noise phobias are something that should not be left until fireworks season and ideally should be dealt with from a very early age to avoid the problems in the first place. CDs are available that play firework and thunder noises and are used to train dogs to not react to the noises they fear. For more information or if you think your pets need some extra help, come and see us for a chat!