Fireworks Advice

At this time of year we all get excited about fireworks but unfortunately the same cannot be said for our pets.  Here is some helpful advice about how to help them over the next few weeks that was also in our Autumn Newsletter.  If you did not receive a newsletter by email please contact the practice and we will ensure you are added to the mailing list! Here are a few helpful tips to get through the season! In the run up to Bonfire Night walk your dog when it is still light outside. This reduces the possibility of fireworks being set off and your dog becoming worried. Ensure your cat is safely contained inside before nightfall. Make sure rabbit/guinea pig hutches are secure and well protected. Make sure all windows, doors and cat flaps are securely closed during fireworks night. This will reduce the chances of your pets escaping. Provide extra litter trays for cats in case they are not used to being confined to the house. Provide distractions, for example new toys or chews, while fireworks are happening. Draw curtains and switch on the TV to mask the noise from the fireworks.  Putting the washing machine on or doing the hoovering is often a good distraction. Try not to leave your pets alone while fireworks are going off, pets will be more relaxed when they have a familiar person with them during this time. DO NOT punish your pet! This will only make your pet more distressed. Providing a den or hiding place where your pet can feel safe, is very important and can be as easy as creating a den under a table using a blanket or leaving a wardrobe door open so your cat can find a safe place.  You can further increase your pet’s feeling of security by plugging in an Adaptil for dogs or Feliway diffusers for cats as close to the den or hiding place as possible, start using the diffuser at least a few days before fireworks are expected. These are diffusers that release calming pheromones into the environment and can be found at most Veterinary Practices. Try to ignore fearful behaviour, such a panting, shaking and whining. Dogs may pick up on their owner’s anxiety which could make the problem worse.  Reassuring your pet only validates their concerns and makes them more fearful. Other options to help include – Desensitisation programs involving training your pet slowly not to be scared. Thundershirts!  For some pets these work brilliantly.  These are T Shirts based on the swaddling principle. We have them in stock to try for size. Medication – ranging from herbal remedies, such as Nutracalm, to prescription medication for extreme cases. As always if you are worried about your pet, please contact one of us at the surgery where we are more than happy to give advice, either via email or on the usual number 01483 455355.