The last few months of the year can be quite stressful for pets with Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali, Christmas, and New Year all falling in quick succession. Children get more excited, we have more visitors, parties abound and fireworks go off for weeks on end. All of this is great for us, but our pets don’t see it in the same way and can be frightened, become withdrawn and sometimes get lost when they run after hearing a loud sound.
To make this time of year better for them, there are a number of things you can do to help. The first thing you need to do is act now and help prepare them. You can do this in a number of ways…..
‘Sounds Scary!’ is a double CD therapy pack for dogs and introduces them to loud sounds. The amount of training needed will vary from dog to dog so owners should start training with the CD well in advance of bonfire night. This CD should make your dog less afraid of loud noises whatever the time of year.
Provide a ‘safe haven’ or den for your dog, somewhere they think of as being safe and secure with things they like. It is best in a quiet area and where your dog feels in control and needs to be reinforced with positive experiences such as having a variety of favourite toys there – these should be swapped regularly so they don’t get bored with them. They should then start to associate it with a place they can retreat to where no harm will come to them. This place should be available to them at all times even when you are out.
Adaptil is a product that work by using a copy of an appeasing pheromone that supports dogs in a range of stressful situations. Adaptil is canine specific, odourless, non-sedative, non-systemic and can be used alongside all other types of medication. As well as a calming effect for the upcoming time of the year, it can also be used to help puppies settle into a new home, can help dogs cope in kennels, during rehoming, the introduction of a new family member & with travel.
Calm Care by Cherrydown Vets is a product we now stock for both cats and dogs. This again has a calming effect and helps to stop them getting stressed.
Calm Care can help not just with noise but with other times your pet might be stressed such as
- Car journeys
- Moving home
- Visiting the vet
- Boarding at kennels
- When you leave them to go to work etc.
If you have any questions about this product either call us at the clinic or leave a post on our Facebook page
For more information relating to dogs and fireworks you can take a look at an article from The Kennel Club. It talks about dealing with anxiety in your dog. Click HERE to take a look
Having somewhere for your cat to hide (not that they usually have much difficulty in finding such a spot) and don’t try to tempt them out from there as this will add to their stress. They tend to like somewhere that is up high as they feel more secure (hence the running up trees).
Feliway works in much the same way as Adaptil and can be used in the same scenarios.
Both Feliway & Adaptil can be purchased as diffusers (plug into the wall), sprays and collars to cater for the particular circumstance.
How to help your pets ‘on the night’
During the season when fireworks are being set it is best to walk your dog during daylight hours to reduce the risk of a firework going off and frightening them.
If your pet shows signs of fear, try to ignore their behaviour and leave them alone. Don’t punish or fuss over them as this will likely make matters worse.
Close windows and curtains and put on music or the TV so that the sound will muffle the fireworks.
Make sure they cannot escape, once outside they can easily be spooked and run off without knowing where they are going. Having them microchipped is also a sensible precaution.
Make sure their safe place is available to them.
If your pet lives outside covering their living area will help to dampen noise and provide extra bedding for them to bury into. If your rabbit comes indoors, this would be a good time to let them do it.
If your cat becomes scared do not try to pick them up or restrain them as they like to control how they cope.
Keep the cat flap closed so they cannot get out.
Signs of a scared dog
- Trembling / shaking.
- Excessive barking.
- Soiling in the home.
- Trying to run away.
- Cowering and hiding.
- Pacing and panting.
- Refusing to eat.
Signs of a scared cat
- Hiding behind or on top of furniture.
- Trying to run off.
- Soiling the house.
- Refusing to eat.
Signs of a scared rabbit
- Stamping hind feet.
- Remaining motionless.
- Attempting to escape.
- Stopping eating & pooing.
Some pets become very scared of very loud noises and sometimes this can turn into a phobia. If you are at all concerned about your pet and their behaviour then consult your vet at the earliest opportunity.