Preparing Your Pet For Party Season!
9th October 2013
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Some great advice from Claire Smith at Pool House Veterinary Hospital in Lichfield:

A fear of fireworks is an extremely common problem in dogs and cats, and fortunately there are many ways in which you can help your pet stay happy throughout the firework season. However, if left unaddressed a mild firework fear may progress to a more serious noise phobia where dogs and cats become stressed by other sounds such as thunder, gun shots and even everyday noises such as a car door slamming.

As with most things, preparation is the key to managing your pet's firework fear. Ideally starting about 2 months before fireworks are expected to start. A noise desensitisation programme has been proven to help many pets deal with sound related fears.  Desensitisation involves exposing your pet to stressful sounds in a controlled method whilst they are relaxed and occupied with a toy, and there are various CDs available with pre-recorded sounds such as fireworks, thunder and car alarms that have all been shown to help many cats and dogs.

Many firework fears have also been managed with the help of pheromone therapy in the form of Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats.

Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural appeasing pheromone that mother dogs produce to comfort and reassure their puppies. It has been scientifically proven to help both puppies and adult dogs cope in stressful situations such as with fireworks and loud noises associated with the party season.

Feliway is a synthetic copy of the facial pheromone that cats produce to mark their home as a safe and secure environment.

Whilst some cats may not necessarily develop a noise phobia like dogs, confining them during fireworks and the party season can be stressful and lead to unwanted behaviours such as scratching furniture, urine marking and inter-cat aggression.

Feliway has been scientifically proven to prevent or reduce these stress related behaviours, and help cats adjust to their environment. Adaptil and Feliway are available as plug in diffusers and sprays, and Adaptil is also available as a collar.

It is recommended that you begin to use them 2-4 weeks before fireworks are expected to start, and that you continue to use them during and after the party or firework season ends.

There are also herbal products available that are widely used during the firework season and have been shown to reduce anxiety by calming and relaxing cats and dogs naturally. They do not sedate pets, but enable them to relax and to be unconcerned by the noises that would normally cause stress.

Top Tips for the Big Night!

  • Provide a cosy den or hiding for your pet whilst fireworks are going off.
  • Walk your dog early in the evening before fireworks start.
  • Ensure windows, doors and cat flaps remain closed to prevent pets escaping and to reduce the noise.
  • Close the curtains and put on the TV or some music, and provide distractions such as toys and chews.
  • Ensure your cats have access to enough litter trays, especially if they are being kept indoors.
  • Ignore any fearful behaviour, as dogs may pick up on their owner's anxiety which can make the problem worse. Stay calm and act normally.

If you would like any advice on the things you can do and the products available to help keep your pets happy during the party season, then contact Pool House Veterinary Hospital on 01543 406126. Our free nurse consultations are run by qualified Veterinary Nurses who can help and advise you on preventing and reducing stress this season, as well as with any other queries you may have.

About the Author

Louie C

Member since: 10th July 2012

I am passionate about 'Buying Local' and supporting our local businesses to 'keep the pound' in town, to help grow our economy here in Lichfield.
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