Helping your pet deal with Bonfire Night fears
Fireworks are not only for Bonfire Night these days. Lots of celebrations end with fireworks, weddings, New Year’s Eve, birthday parties. If you are pre-warned about an event then there is lots you can do to make the noise less stressful for your pet.
It is advisable to introduce your dog or cat to loud noises from a young age, passing traffic, the hoover and washing machine are a good start. Up until 16 weeks of age your new puppy or kitten will not experience fear of the unknown so this is an excellent time to accustom them to new situations and sounds. In a noisy situation such as a thunderstorm, even if you are nervous yourself, do not show your fear to your pet. Comforting your pet can have an adverse effect in reassuring him that there IS something to fear!
Pets may not show obvious signs of stress but heart rates rise, blood cortisol (the stress hormone) levels increase and pets can search frantically for a place to hide.
- Sedatives can work but do not reduce fear they merely suppress the reaction. They are short-term remedies that create a drowsy pet and can have side effects.
- Pheromones can settle cats and dogs but need to have been used for weeks in advance.
- Desensitisation CDs of pre-recorded sounds also need to be used well in advance to have full effect.
- Natural medications are also available, please contact us for more information.
Pets react to their owners fears too, if you can stay calm and confident in noisy stressful situations your pet will take the lead from you and hopefully ignore it too. If you are concerned that your pet may become distressed then contact us and discuss the best option for your pet.
If you are faced with a noisy firework display at short notice then possibly the best course of action is to close the curtains, turn up the television or music to disguise the noise. Small animals may appreciate being moved into a shed or garage although take care that there is no danger from exhaust fumes.
Some pets appreciate a safe haven to hide away, perhaps a covered crate or a quiet corner under the stairs – a treat of chews or a favourite toy may distract your pet. Make sure the cat flap is fixed shut so that cats cannot escape – they can run a long way if frightened.
If you are aware of an event in advance then try to keep to your normal routine but perhaps prolong play time or exercise to ensure your dog is particularly tired – you never know – he may sleep through the whole event!
Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice or more information by telephoning 01291 672637