It’s that time of year again when our pets dive for cover. While we need to be careful with pets around fireworks in the same manner as human safety, we also need to be mindful of the impact the noises and flashes might have on them.
The natural instinct of most animals when they encounter a loud noise is to take flight or hide. Some animals can learn to be tolerant of firework noises but for many this season is a misery. Providing a den or increasing the ambient noises within the home with TV or radio can help reduce the impact of noises. By shutting curtains and keeping lights on we can reduce the flashes seen by pets. Some herbal remedies and pheromone products are available from the practice which can help dogs and cats.
Occasionally medication may be necessary to help, but your vet will need to discuss specific requirements as inappropriate use of sedatives can worsen the fear. Some dogs will develop a phobia which may require assistance from an expert in veterinary behaviour (such as the behaviour team at the University of Bristol). With tailored advice it may be possible to introduce desensitisation or counter-conditioning for long term control of the problem.
Small pets kept outdoors can be helped by increasing the sound insulation around the hutch or moving the hutch. Thermal insulation materials will also reduce the noises as will keeping the hutch near evergreen foliage, which will help to dampen the sounds.
Questionnaire for dog owners
To find out how severley affected your dog is, click on the link below to download a quick questionnaire. Print it out, complete it and hand it to our Small Animal Practice Reception. You will then receive a FREE personalised report and some simple tips to help your dog.