Love your pet… love your vet
Remember, remember your pets this November
The firework season may go with a bang for you and your family, but it is estimated that approximately 60% of pets become stressed and fearful while fireworks are going off, often when owners are out of the house enjoying the festivities.
Pet owners should plan in advance and prepare their pets for fireworks, to ensure that the experience is as stress-free as possible.
Why not follow the 'Remember, remember your pets this November' hints and tips below to look after your pets during the firework season and help them cope with their fear of loud noises?
Some animals become very fearful around fireworks’ season which can develop into a phobia so it is important to try not to comfort them during this time. Animals will pick up on your anxiety which can make the problem worse. Never reward fearful behaviour with cuddles and reassurance you should remain calm and relaxed and carry on as if nothing is happening. Fussing and rewarding your pet is actively encouraging this behaviour.
Keep your dog indoors at night in the run-up to the fireworks’ season and ensure nervous dogs have somewhere comfortable to hide away. You could prepare a ‘den’ for your dog, so that he has somewhere to hide during the fireworks. Encourage him to use it by hiding healthy food treats or favourite toys there. If your dog hides in a corner or under a bed, leave him alone and do not try to coax him out. This ‘bolthole’ is where he will feel most secure and must be accessible at all times. You can further help create this comforting ‘den’ for your dog by using a plug in D.A.P® diffuser (dog appeasing pheromone) these can be purchased from vets or good pet shops and help to lower levels of stress.
On the evenings you expect fireworks; it is advisable to ensure your dog has been taken for a walk early in the evening before the fireworks start. Make sure your dog is safely inside and close all doors and windows and pull blinds or curtains. It is sometimes helpful to play music or leave the television on to mask the sound of the fireworks outside.
Make sure your dog is micro-chipped. If they do escape, frightened and confused animals can easily become lost. If they are chipped this will ensure they are returned to you as quickly as possible.
Never punish your pet for fearful behaviour. This only confirms that there is something to be afraid of.
Try not to go out while the fireworks are going off. Seeing you act normally will help your dog to feel more settled throughout the evening.
If you know your pet has reacted badly to fireworks previously it is advisable to make an early appointment with your vet to discuss possible treatments that might help your pet feel more comfortable during this difficult time.
f you are in any way concerned by your dog’s behaviour both during and after the firework season, you should contact your vet.
For further information visit www.petfireworkfear.co.uk.
Chris Devlin is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen. For
more information visit www.hillsidevets.co.uk. Also now on Facebook