Did someone mention fireworks?
It’s approaching that time of year that most cats and dogs dread. Here is some advice on how to help your pets during this time of year, how to keep and calm and safe.
How can I prepare my pet?
* Many cats and dogs try to hide once they start hearing the sounds of fireworks. Its a good idea to create a ‘den’. This is a place your pet will feel safe in. Its ideal to do this in the middle of the house if possible, with plenty of bedding. It should be a place where curtains can be shut to block out any flashes, windows shut and also doors to help muffle any sounds. A week before bonfire night you should allow your pet to see the den and allow them to sit in it, so then they can get used to it and understand that it is there for them, offer treats in there, praise them and make it a positive place.
* Microchip. If your pet escaped as it was frightened, if they had a microchip they could be traced back to you.
* Use a pheromone plug in/spray. They provide calming scents for your pet during stressful times.
* Use a ‘Sounds scary cd’ this plays sounds of fireworks and helps get your pet used to the sounds
What to do during a firework display?
* Keep all animals indoors at all times.
* Keep all windows, doors, cat flaps locked. Also draw any curtains.
* Provide distractions.
* Let your pet hide where they like, don’t try and move them, they feel safe there.
* Take your dog on a long walk in the daylight before the displays start.
* Ignore fearful behaviour. If you start comforting their fear they will feel that you’re anxious and you will be rewarding and encouraging the fear.
* Play music to try and muffle the sound of the fireworks.
* Don’t punish any behaviour that isn’t normal, your pet is scared and doesn’t understand what is happening.
Signs of distress?
* Clinging to owners
* Cowering and hiding
* Running away
* Soiling in the house
* Not wanting to eat.
How can your vet help?
There is a wide range of products on the market that are designed to help your pet in times of stress.
* Zylkene capsules. It’s a natural product that is derived from milk proteins; it has been proven to help cats and dogs in times of distress. Its can be used for short term or long term stress. It can be given 24 hours before an event or ideally with fireworks it should be given 2 days before the event and for the duration that is required.
* Adaptil DAP. A DAP diffuser is a discrete plug-in which releases the ‘canine appeasing pheromone’ This is a natural product that is proven to comfort puppies and adult dogs. Appeasing pheromone are naturally released by all lactating animals to comfort the offspring. It is ideal to place this in a room where your dog will feel safe and have a ‘den’. This will help even more with calming your dog. One diffuser refill lasts approximately 4 weeks.
* Feliway. This works in the same way as DAP but is used for cats.
These are a few of the natural products that owners can try for their pets, if these don’t work and the pet is really stressed, please seek veterinary advise for prescription products.