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Helpful advice for helping your pet deal with the fireworks

December 14, 2023

Fireworks Advice for New Year

Behavioural and Medical Methods to Help your pets cope with loud noises

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.

Signs of Fear & Distress

Cats and Dogs

·Trembling and shaking

·Cowering and hiding

·Pacing, panting, and refusing to eat

·Clinging to owners

·Soiling the house

Rabbits

·Stamping hind feet

·Staying motionless

·Trying to escape

Thankfully, there are several simple behavioural things you can do to help them cope during the firework period.


Behavioural Management Techniques

Dogs

Walk your dog while it is still light to reduce the possibility of fireworks being let off while they are outside.

Cats

Provide your cat with extra litter trays.

All Pets

> Block out exterior sounds: draw the curtains, close all doors and windows, and close any cat flaps.

> Disguise exterior sounds: use your tv or radio to provide continuous sound or play music with a repetitive beat to help mask the suddenness of the bangs from outside.

> Provide a hiding place: if your pet gets a fright and doesn’t already have a favourite hiding place, create a safe, relaxing den for them for them to feel protected in. It is important that you let them come out when they feel safe enough to do so – never try to pull them out.

> Keep them distracted: try to stay with them when the fireworks.

are going off. Play with them and provide them with new toys or treats. Reward them when they are relaxed.

> Feed them earlier: this will help them to feel settled for the night.

> Don’t acknowledge or react to them being stressed:if you are anxious your pet will pick up on this and it could make the problem worse. You can of course comfort your pet if they seek it but try not to do this anymore than you would on any normal day. If they hide, it’s best to leave them be, where they feel safe.

DO NOT punish your pet if their behaviour as “bad” when they are frightened.

This will make them more distressed and confused … remember, the fireworks’ noise is not their fault.


Medicines

If behavioural techniques are not enough and you feel your pet is still in distress now is the time to contact your veterinary practice to discuss further options.

Dogs only

Adaptil: This contains a synthetic copy of the natural appeasing pheromone mother dogs produces.

Cats only

Feliway: When cats rub their faces on objects, they are leaving pheromones which tell them your home is a safe and secure place: Feliway contains a synthetic copy of this pheromone.

Mild fireworks fears can be successfully manged by using natural remedies.

Dogs and Cats who need stronger medicines

Natural remedies (tablets): This is most often used in combination with sedatives for pets with a severe noise phobia. Some pets can respond quickly to it but for others it can take a few weeks to take effect. Bear this in mind while preparing for the firework season. We can supply these alongside medical sedatives.

For extreme situations

Book an appointment with one of our veterinary surgeons to discuss all the options available including stronger medication such as sedatives 01324 829989.

A desensitisation programme is the best way to help your pet next year so they are not as fearful. This should be started around June/ July when there is no fireworks being set off. Dogs Trust have a Sound Therapy and Firework Training programme called “Sounds Scary” – this can be found here; Sound Therapy and Firework Training

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