Preparation for Fireworks Night – Essential Reading for Dog Owners
A recent study by Bristol University showed that while dog owners are good at recognising the signs that humans display when they are fearful or stressed they are not as good at spotting the signs in their dogs. If you are wondering whether your dog might be fearful of fireworks you can assess this by using the following link or contact the surgery with your questions.
In general, ensure that your dog has a “safe” area or den to retreat to. Ideally this should be in an internal room and away from windows. In a room with windows draw the curtains. To diminish the noise from outside turn the TV or radio on and keep your dog company during the fireworks.
Take your dog out for a walk or just to give it a chance to go to the toilet before it gets dark.
If your dog is frightened during the fireworks do not try to reassure the dog because the or she will see this as you rewarding the inappropriate behaviour. Equally do not punish or chastise the dog because this will just intensify the fearful response. Try to distract your dog with a toy, game or puzzle feeder.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Desensitisation and Counter-conditioning have been shown to be safe and effective for treating sound sensitivities and the Practice has DVDs which can help you however this sort of training should be done away from the firework season.
Pheromone Treatment There is a synthetic Dog Appeasing Pheromone in a diffuser which has been shown to help dogs in this situation and can be used with other treatments.
Nutritional and Plant Derived Treatments are available to help reduce stress and anxiety and can be used in conjunction with other therapies. There is also a food which has been developed specifically to help reduce anxiety and stress and could be fed during the firework period. Some of these should ideally be started 7-10days prior to the expected fireworks.
Drug Treatment For the more severe cases drugs which reduce anxiety levels can be used. It is important to realise that drugs which just sedate the dog are only making the owner feel better because they stop your dog showing signs of anxiety without actually making it less anxious.
It is part of their normal behaviour for outdoor cats to be active at dusk and if they are outside when fireworks start going off they may bolt and end up some distance from their home territory. To ensure that your cat is quickly reunited with you it is worth considering having him or her microchipped. Ideally on nights when fireworks are likely it is a good idea to confine your cat inside from before dusk and provide a litter tray food and water and most importantly provide a place to hide or just provide access to one of their favourite hiding places.
Pheromone Treatment There is also a synthetic Cat pheromone product available which helps reduce anxiety and stress in a number of circumstances. This product can be used as a spray which can be sprayed at cat nose height on doorways /table legs etc in areas that the cat will use when it is frightened or as a plug in diffuser which can be set up in the area where your cat has a hiding place.
Nutritional and Plant Derived Treatments are available and can be used in conjunction with other therapies. There is also a food which has been developed specifically to help reduce anxiety and stress. This can be fed during the fire work period. Some of these should be started 7-10 days prior to the expected fireworks.
Drug Treatment For more severe cases drugs which reduce stress and anxiety can be used. Because cats can respond variably to these drugs it is sometimes useful to have trial to assess your cats response prior to the time that the fireworks are expected.
If you have any questions or would like further advice please contact us by email
(firstname.lastname@example.org, ) phone ( 01534 730521 ) or ask at reception.