Fireworks – Prepare Now!
It seems that Bonfire Night goes on for four to six weeks these days. Then New Year comes and the firework season continues well into January. For those owners who have pets that are terrified of loud noises this can be a living nightmare. Some owners will even book a holiday to the remote parts of Yorkshire during this period.
When our pets are distressed our first instinct is to try our comfort them, which can often make the situation worse. At worst, some bolt from the safety of the house just to try and get away from the noise. If you have a pet that gets stressed with loud noises then hopefully these tips will help:
Desensitisation is the best option. At Donaldson’s vets we have a CD that covers a wide range of noises and sounds that may upset your pet. The idea is that you introduce them to these sounds at a low level and increase the volume over a period of time. We also have plug-ins and sprays that are pheromone based and produce a calming effect. These are best used from mid-October. There is also a collar available for use in dogs. For cats, make sure they are used to spending time indoors and using an in-house litter tray. Providing a “den area” where your pet feels safe can also help should they want to hide on the nights in question.
ON THE DAY
- Make sure your dog is walked as early as possible to avoid fireworks. Cats should be called in early.
- Ensure all curtains are drawn tightly and all windows closed to reduce light and noise.
- Provide background noise from a TV or radio; drum beats are a good distraction! The volume doesn’t have to be loud, just distracting.
- Provide familiar toys and chews to keep them occupied.
- Do not punish your pet if they are scared, it will only confuse them more.
- Ignore any fearful behaviour (this can be difficult!). If you try to comfort them it will only reward the behaviour.
- Stay calm yourself, do not get upset by the noise and set a good example to your pet. Both dogs and cats quickly pick up on anxiety.
- Try not to go out and leave your pet if they are scared.
- If you have friends with dogs that are not scared of fireworks then invite them round. Seeing another dog relaxed may help reassure your pet.
Some pets are so bad they require medication. We regularly dispense this around firework time, but your pet will need a check-up by a vet and weighing before any medication can be dispensed. Advice on administering this medication will be provided by the vet, but usually these are given around an hour before the event.
Leave plug-ins connected for a week after the fireworks.