Fireworks and Your Pets.
We all enjoy the spectacle and beauty of fireworks at this time of year, however while many of us look on in amazement with our families and friends, some people dread the noise and stress firework season brings.
Many pets have noise phobias and unfortunately for them and their families it can bring many unsettled days and nights of stress and worry.
There are many actions that can be undertaken by pet owners in the weeks running up to firework season.
During the months running up to and during firework season, St Clair veterinary care will be running FREE firework phobia clinics for those pets and owners that find fireworks stressful.
There are lots of ways you can help reduce stress, and by implementing different techniques in the run up to this year’s firework season, we hope to help you reduce the stress for you and your pets.
Some of these steps are really easy and simple, others take a little preparation, but could make a huge difference to your pets.
1. Keep animals safe. They are much better kept indoors. Cats should be locked inside (remember the cat flap) and dogs should be exercised before the noises start. Ideally have pets microchipped, so that if they do get out and try and escape, they can be traced and reunited quickly.
2. Close all doors and windows to help keep the noise out. Close curtains where possible, to help muffle sounds and control flashes of light. Playing music and turning up the TV can also help to distract them.
3. Try and stay with your pet, and be as calm and relaxed as possible. Do not try to over assure your pet, or make a fuss of them. It can in fact cause greater stress and anxiety. Never show any anger, or punish any unwanted behaviour. Try and ignore what is going on as much as possible. If your pet wants attention, give them a quiet stroke, then try and occupy yourself. Making any sort of fuss can signal to your pet that there is a problem and it can increase their worry.
4. Try to provide a den or safe place. It should be enclosed and have lots of soft bedding. A wardrobe or cupboard might work for cats. Lots of blankets or old duvets will help to make it cosy and absorb some of the sound. Cats like to get up high and be out of the way. If possible try to leave them in a hiding place. They are best left there if this is what they choose, but try to remain quietly nearby if you can. Being there and being relaxed is a great help.
5. Pheromones such as ADAPTIL diffusers and collars, as well as FELIWAY diffusers and sprays (the equivalent for cats), can be a significant help. Diffusers which release these calming pheromones into the room are not detected by us, but are picked up by the animals’ more sensitive noses, encouraging a feeling of well- being and calm. They are proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels in pets, and therefore calm many behaviour problems associated with noise phobias
6. Neutracalm is a non-prescription neutraceutical which is available for dogs and cats. It can have a dramatic calming effect on some individuals, and can be given for the whole of the firework period. It does not require any loading doses and works very quickly. Our nurses can advise and prescribe this during your FREE appointment, if you feel it would benefit your pets.
7. Sometimes mild sedative drugs are appropriate, and your vet can prescribe useful medication if it is needed. This will require a consultation with one of our vets to ensure they would be suitable for your pets.
8. Remember noise desensitisation can and will work. Our nurses can help you with this.
9. Don’t suffer in silence there are many ways in which we can help.
Don’t forget to enter our firework ‘build a den’ competition on our face book page www.facebook.com/stclair.veterinarycare
The winning entry will win, an Adaptil collar or Feliway spray.