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30 October 2016
Remember, remember the 5th of November… yes it’s that time of year again!
Whilst many humans enjoy nothing better than a spectacular firework display on a cold November night, for those of you with dogs and cats with firework phobia, the season can appear endless. Some dogs may tremble and pant, others will bark. They may also want to hide in small spaces. Cats are also likely to want to hide away. It is a stressful time of year for our pets, so here are a few tips that may help:
- 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.
- For dogs, plug in an Adaptil diffuser, at least two weeks before the firework period. This will release a dog appeasing pheromone that will help calm your dog. For cats plug in a Feliway diffuser that will give off appeasing pheromones for cats that will help them feel more secure.
- 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.
- Supplements such as Zylkene, which can be prescribed by your vet, may help reduce anxiety.
- Long term desensitisation using a CD with firework sounds may help, it needs to be started a month or two in advance. Initially the CD is played at a low volume and gradually the volume is increased.
Further information see our Firework Advice for Dogs Information Sheet.
Further advice for cats can be seen by downloading the iCatCare poster Halloween Hazards and Fireworks.