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Firework advice for dogs and cats
22 October 2017
It’s that time of year again! For those of you with dogs and cats with firework phobia, the season can appear endless. Now is the time to start planning ahead to help our pets cope.
Some dogs may show signs of trembling and panting, others may bark or want to hide away from it all. Our feline friends can also be affected and may want to hide away in unusual places. It can be a stressful time of year for our pets.
There are several things you can do to help your pet
- Try to walk your dog before dusk so they will be relaxed and have been to the toilet before the fireworks start.
- Allow cats to hide away, they may choose spots high up on furniture or want to hide under the bed. Don’t try to get them out of these spaces as they have chosen them because they feel safe.
- Feeding your pets in the late afternoon may also make them feel more relaxed.
- Make sure your cats are in before the fireworks start and leave them indoors overnight, remembering to provide extra litter trays during this period.
- Do not leave your dog alone and make sure they are indoors when the fireworks start.
- Create a safe place or den away from windows and keep the curtains closed. Your dog must be able to access the den at all times. Cover the sides with a blanket or a thick duvet to muffle the noise of the fireworks. Put treats in the den so they associate it with a positive experience.
- Natural supplements and plug in pheromones may help reduce anxiety for dogs and cats. These need to be started around 2 weeks ahead of the fireworks, please contact your vet for their recommendations.
- Try to follow a normal routine and do not act differently. Avoid soothing your pets as this will give them a sense that there is something to be worried about and may inadvertently reinforce their anxious behaviour. Do not punish fearful behaviour.
- Try playing moderately loud music to mask the noise.
- Long term desensitisation programmes using firework sounds may help, it needs to be started a month or two in advance.
Check out the RSPCA video on YouTube for more tips on how to help your pet during firework season
And don’t forget, voting is now open for the annual Pet Plan awards - if you think Willows Veterinary Centre & Referral Service or one of our team deserve to win, please take a moment to complete the nomination form below!
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