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Fireworks season is fast approaching and it seems to last longer each year. We are often contacted by many worried owners for advice regarding their pet’s behaviour at this time of year.
Afraid of fireworks is a fairly common phobia for dogs and cats, as they often find the loud, unpredictable noise and bright displays of light very frightening. Even a seemingly confident dog can tremble and drool at the unfamiliar sounds.
As a loving owner it can be very distressing to see our pets so frightened, here are some handy hints to help your pets cope.
• Ignore your pet’s behaviour and DO NOT fuss them. Avoid cuddling and talking to your pet. Rather than easing a dog’s fears, this often reinforces the dog’s nervous behaviour. Stay calm yourself! Pets can sense you are worried and it can increase their own stress.
• Allow your pet to hide e.g. under a bed or a table. Don’t attempt to pull or force them closer to you.
• Turn on the radio or television and keep your windows closed and curtains shut. This will help to drown out the sound and obscure the view of fireworks.
• Avoid going outside when the fireworks are on display. Take your dog out for a walk and to the toilet well before its dark. Don’t lets cats outside and lock the cat flap for the night.
• Consider the use of non-prescription products to help cope with loud noises, e.g. Nutracalm is a natural product which can have relaxing properties in dogs and cats. Adaptil/Feliway diffusers and sprays are a synthetic copy of the natural calming pheromone which can help when used in your home.
• In the case of more severe phobias, sedative prescription medication can be dispensed after your pet has had a full clinical examination from us.
You can also help in the long term by desensitizing your pet from the sound of the fireworks. This can be complex and does involve preparation. A good way to start desensitization is using a CD of firework noises, these can be played at low levels and will help your pet become more familiar with firework noise over a long period of time.
If you have any further questions or would like to speak to us regarding your pet please give a call and make an appointment with one of our nurses.