October 25, 2018

It’s coming up to the time of year when the sky lights up with multiple dazzling displays.

I hope your pet is like my current furry boy who sits at the window mesmerised. However most animals are scared by the loud bangs and ear splitting whistles that accompany fireworks. If your furry companion is distressed by the noise then here are a few things you can do to help keep them feeling safe.

First of all you can create a den for them in the weeks leading up to fireworks night. It should be built in an area your pet already feels safe in. For instance a favourite hiding spot. The den needs to be big enough to stand up and turn around in as well as sleep. Line a dog crate or large box with old blankets to make it smell familiar. Also cover it with a blanket to help muffle the sound. Provide toys and treats and make sure there is food and water nearby. For cats try to place the den up high and have a litter tray nearby.

Please consider the stress reducing products available. There are calming pheromones which come in sprays, plugins and collars. Certain supplements and herbal medications can help as well as prescription medications for those who need it. In very stressed animals we advise a veterinary appointment to discuss a combination of approaches to best help your pet. Thunder shirts can also be used to help reassure your pet. They create gentle constant pressure, like a hug. We are always happy to talk through these options and help come up with the best approach for your pet.

On the night, walk dogs early and then make sure all external windows and doors are closed. When startled, animals can run off and injure themselves. Please make sure their microchip details are up to date and if your pet becomes injured contact your vet. Make sure to feed them before the fireworks start and then put on some normal background noise for the evening.

Try to avoid any unusual behaviour during the fireworks and as difficult as it is leave your furry friend alone unless they come to you for reassurance. When stressed they may soil the house or become destructive. Do not tell them off as this only makes them more nervous. Clean up or take them away from the soiled area while giving reassurance and try to distract them from destructive behaviours.

Hopefully this makes you feel a bit more prepared for the big night. However if you have any particular concerns then please contact your vet. If your furry friend particularly struggles there are also long term methods that can help desensitise them and make them feel more comfortable with loud noises. We work in conjunction with animal behaviourists to provide the best care in these situations.

 

Claire Turner is a Veterinary Surgeon at St. Vincents Veterinary Surgery, a family-owned practice providing personal care for all your pets in and around Wokingham.

Please call us on 0118 9793200 for advice on any concerns regarding your pets and their health or to make an appointment with a veterinary surgeon.