None of us really want to think about the winter holiday season in September, but it is fast approaching and with it comes the bright lights and extreme noise of fireworks. The firework season in the England usually starts with Diwali celebrations in late October/early November and ends on New Years Eve in January. There are many things that you can do to help your pet get through this season and we are here to help and advise.
Some pets are absolutely terrified of fireworks and display behaviours ranging from hiding away, to refusing to go outside and even completely destroying items of furniture if they are left alone in the home. Every year from the end of October to the beginning of January, the staff at Castle Vets receive many phone calls from owners about their distressed pets.
It might sound a little premature but now is the time to act if you have a pet that is worried by fireworks. The sooner you prepare your pet the easier it will be for them to cope when the season starts.
Firework fear signs
- Refusing to go out after dark
- Clingy behaviour
- Toileting inside
- Destruction of household objects
How you can help your pet
- Preparation: Make sure your pet has a den or hiding place where he or she pet feels safe. This can be a simple as a bed behind the sofa, a blanket over a table that your pet can lie under or a large cardboard box with a bed in it. Encourage your pet to use this den in the run up to the firework season by rewarding them for being there and using pheromone sprays or diffusers if necessary.
- Pheromones: These are really useful as they can help increase your pet’s feeling of security during the firework season. Adaptil for dogs (available in collar, diffuser and spray format) and Feliway for cats (available as a diffuser and spray format) are both available from the surgery. For best effects you should start to be using these products 3-4 weeks before the expected firework season.
- Medication: Some very nervous pets may require medication to help them get through the fireworks season. There are some very good non-prescription products available at veterinary practices that can help calm your pet and make him or her feel more relaxed. But each pet is an individual and will have it’s own needs, so we advise that you speak to one of our veterinary nurses before buying any over the counter medications.
- Desensitisation: This should be started at least 6 months before the firework season starts. Desensitisation to fireworks is usually achieved by playing a cd with firework sounds on it on a regular basis until your pet doesn’t react at all. Extreme care needs to be taken when using these methods because you could make the situation worse. Please do not use this method until you have spoken to a pet behaviourist or one of our veterinary nurses, who can advise you on how to implement it.
Please contact us to make an appointment to speak to one of our veterinary nurses, in person or on the phone, about how you can help your pet get through the firework season.
You can also visit the Adaptil and Feliway website.