I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year. I particularly love being stood outside, wrapped up warm on a really crisp, cold November evening watching fireworks explode in beautiful patterns in the sky. But as a vet, I can’t help but think about all of the animals that are locked up inside their homes – confused, scared, and wondering where their owners have gone.
There are a few simple steps that you can take to make sure your pet doesn’t suffer this fireworks season, and the key is all in the planning. If you know your pet gets anxious around Bonfire Night, make sure you start your preparations in advance to help them as much as possible.
Three are a few easy steps you can take that will dramatically help your pet during a firework display. Firstly, make sure you keep your pets indoors whilst the fireworks are going off. This includes walking your dog before dusk, and shutting off cat and dog flaps to make sure they are nice and secure inside. Give them a good dinner a bit early, so they think that the next part of their routine is where they start to settle for bed. New toys and treats can help, and act as distractions during noisy displays.
For dogs, making them a den area in advance, with blankets that they can hide under or inside, will give them a safe space that they can start getting used to and use well ahead of fireworks time.
If you’re not staying home this fireworks night, it’s still really important that you give your dog this space, so they have a safe area throughout the evening while you’re out. If you’re staying home, closing the curtains and putting on a distraction noise such as the television can help your dog ignore the fireworks and allow them to relax.
At Withy Grove Vets, we suggest you use DAP (for dogs) pheromone diffuser, which plugs into a wall socket and emits synthetically produced pheromones that replicate those given off by a bitch a few days after birth. The pheromone gives puppies a sense of safety and the confidence to explore, so when used in the home during fireworks season can have the same effect and help to soothe your dog.
If you’re a cat owner, taking precautions to help your pet stay calm during fireworks night are just as important. You can make them a hiding hole just as you would make your dog a den. Cats too enjoy having somewhere that they can use as their safe space, but prefer a much more secret and private area. In addition, they tend to like being high up, so you can put some blankets on top of a wardrobe for example. We also offer a similar product to our dog pheromone diffuser, the Feliway, which has the same effect on your cat and helps to keep them nice and calm.
With both the Feliway and DAP, it’s important to introduce them into the home prior to when fireworks tend to start. It’s also important that you continue to use the diffusers after firework displays have stopped in your area, and gradually phase them out.
NEW! Innovative Fast Acting solution for Dogs.
This year a new product is available, it is a gel placed on a dog’s gums which contains a sedative which at low doses reduces anxiety. It can be used just half an hour before the fireworks start and can be topped up every 2 hours if required. At this dose it reduces sensitivity to noise without sedation, watch this video for more details, http://www.sileodog.com/en or look at www.petdialog.co.uk/noise
If you would like any more advice on how to ensure that your pet has a stress-free fireworks night, feel free to call us on 01772 330103 or pop into practice.