FIREWORKS – BE PREPARED THIS YEAR
Did you know that 80% of pets are scared of fireworks?
Most of the help we can provide needs to be started days and, in some cases, weeks before fireworks are due to start.
Normal fears are natural as they protect us from harm. Many mild firework fears may be successfully managed by using Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats) in conjunction with behavioural advice. However, if left unaddressed, mild firework fears often progress to become a more serious noise phobia.
What is Adaptil?
Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural appeasing pheromone the mother dog produces to comfort and reassure her puppies. It has been scientifically proven to help both puppies and adult dogs cope in stressful situations such as fireworks and loud noises.
Adaptil is available as a plug-in diffuser, spray or collar.
What is Feliway?
When cats rub their face against objects, they leave a pheromone which marks their home environment as safe and secure. Feliway is a synthetic copy of this pheromone which helps to reassure and comfort cats in their own territory. Changes to a cat’s routine, for example, keeping them in during fireworks season, can sometimes lead to unwanted behaviours such as urine marking, vertical scratching and inter-cat tension. Feliway is scientifically proven to prevent or reduce these behaviours and help them adjust to their environment.
Feliway is available as a diffuser or in a spray.
Three top tips for fireworks
- Provide a den or covered area where your pet can feel safe
- Increase the feeling of security by plugging in an Adaptil or Feliway diffuser as close to the den or hiding place as possible
- Ignore fearful behaviour, such as panting, shaking and whining. Your pets can pick up on your anxiety which could make the problem worse
- In the run up to fireworks night walk your dog when it is still light outside. This reduces the possibility of fireworks being let off and your dog becoming worried
- Make sure all windows, doors and cat flaps are securely closed during fireworks night. This will reduce the chances of your pets escaping
- Provide extra litter trays for cats. Litter trays will be used more as your cat is confined to the house
- Provide distractions, in the form of new toys and chews, during periods when fireworks are occurring. Draw curtains and put the TV or radio on (rap or music with constant drumbeats is best) to mask the noise of fireworks being let off
- DO NOT punish your pet! This will only make your pet more distressed
- Try not to leave your pets alone when fireworks are going off. Your pet may hurt themselves during this time
- If you know a dog that isn’t afraid of fireworks, it may be beneficial for them to play together during fireworks. It may help reassure your dog there is nothing to be fearful of
There are different types of medication available which may be necessary in some cases, but should only be used under veterinary supervision and they should be given so they take effect BEFORE any noise starts or panic sets in.
Scullcap and Valerian is a licenced herbal medicine for the symptomatic relief of anxiety, nervousness, excitability and travel sickness and it does not cause drowsiness or impair normal behaviour. These tablets should ideally be started a week before fireworks and continue for the duration of firework season.
Scullcap and valerian is available in liquid form for cats.
Calmex (for cats and dogs)
Calmex contains a blend of B vitamins, amino acids and Piper Methysticum; it aids relaxation in dogs/cats experiencing anxiety or nervousness in stressful conditions, such as, firework noise. This requires to be given 30 – 60 minutes before the desired effect is required.
Zylkene (for cats and dogs)
Zylkene capsules are a natural product, they help to control stress in cats and dogs. It is derived from casein, the protein in milk, it is given once daily. These should be administered 1-2 days before fireworks begin and continue throughout this period.
Using different methods of support, if your dog or cat is very stressed during firework season, is often recommended by the vet.
Please contact the practice if you would like any further information, we will be happy to assist you and your pet.