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Educate yourself with Apex Veterinary Centre for Firework Advice

October 7, 2020

Fireworks season can be a dreaded time of the year for many pet owners, where it is estimated that 80% of pet owners have had a pet that is frightened of the loud noises that is associated with Bonfire Night and other firework events. Fear of fireworks can quickly become a serious phobia which an animal will experience for the rest of their life. Having an awareness of how to identify fear of fireworks, and being able to manage this fear will help to prevent further development of their phobias.

Some ways to recognise fear and signs of stress in your pet on Bonfire Night and other firework associated events are: trembling, shaking, cowering & hiding, clinging to owners, trying to run away, pacing, panting and refusing to eat or soiling the house. Signs in Rabbits can be stamping hind feet, staying motionless and trying to escape.

Thankfully, there are a number of things we can do to help our pets cope during the firework season. Apex Vets ‘Top Tips’ include:

  • Walk your dog when it is still light outside, reducing the possibility of fireworks being let off and upsetting your dog.
  • Also feed them prior to dusk to settle them for the night.
  • Draw the curtains, close all doors, windows and cat flaps to block out outdoor sounds. This also reduces the chance of pets escaping.
  • Create a safe relaxed den for your pet to hide in when they become scared and let them hide. Do not try to pull them out.
  • Keep the TV/Radio on to mask the noise of fireworks being let off. Music with a repetitive beat helps to mask sounds.
  • Reward your pet when they are relaxed.
  • Ignore them when they are stressed, don’t comfort or reassure them. Act normally, as though nothing is wrong. If you are relaxed and calm, this will have an influence on your pet. Whereas if you are anxious, your pet will pick up on this and could make the problem worse.
  • Provide distractions, such as new toys or treats for your pet.
  • Increase the number of litter trays available for your cat.
  • DO NOT punish your pet as this will make them more distressed, after all it’s not their fault.
  • Try not to leave your pets alone when fireworks are going off. They may hurt themselves during this time.

If these management techniques are not enough to help your pet and you feel that they are still in distress, now is the time to contact us on 01324 829989 to discuss further options.

Mild firework fears can be successfully managed by using Adaptil for dogs, Feliway for cats and Yucalm for dogs and cats.

Adaptil

Adaptil contains a synthetic copy of the natural appeasing pheromone the mother dog produces to comfort and reassure her puppies. It has been scientifically proven to help both puppies and adult dogs cope in stressful situations such as fireworks and loud noises. Adaptil products are available in 3 different forms which are convenient to use in different situations:

  • Adaptil Diffuser – plug the diffuser into the room where your dog spends most of its time. Lasts up to 4 weeks.
  • Adaptil Spray – spray onto your dog’s bedding, in its crate or in the car. Convenient formulation for intermittent use.
  • Adaptil Collar – available in 2 sizes: small & large. Fitted snugly around your dogs’ neck. This collar will ensure the appeasing pheromone is with your dog wherever he/she goes. Last for 4 weeks.

Feliway

Like Adaptil, Feliway helps cats naturally cope with stressful situations through the use of synthetic pheromones. Cats are normally noticed to rub their faces against objects in the household, which allows them to leave behind a pheromone and mark their home environment in a safe and secure way. By synthetically including this pheromone, Feliway helps to reassure and comfort cats at stressful times, such as Bonfire Night.

  • Feliway Diffuser – plug the diffuser into the room where your cat spends most of its time. Lasts up to 4 weeks.
  • Feliway Spray – Apply daily to areas that your cat spends most of its time.

Yucalm

Is a natural scientifically proven combination of ingredients to help both dogs and cats cope with stress. It is ideal for pets who are fearful of fireworks, other pets, strangers and other stressful triggers. It is most often used in combination with stronger sedatives for pets with a severe noise phobia. Whilst some pets respond quickly, it can take a few weeks to take effect so please bear this in mind when preparing for fireworks season.

Microchip

It is a good idea to microchip your pet – just in case the worst happens and your pet escapes or runs away. This could help to reunite you with your pet more quickly.

For further help or advice please contact the surgery to book an appointment with our Veterinary Surgeons to discuss the best treatment for your pet on 01324 829989.


What can I do to help small animals or wildlife?

  • Ensure bonfires and fireworks are nowhere near your pets.
  • Make sure your pets have hiding places and secure areas where they can feel safe.
  • Partly cover hutches or outdoor cages with blankets, making them more sound proofed. Plenty of bedding also helps keep noise out and provides hiding places.
  • If building a bonfire, build it as late as possible and disturb the ground around the bottom before lighting, as hedgehogs and other animals may find this a great place to sleep and this would allow them to escape.

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