Firework season is upon us although more often than not it lasts for a couple of weeks, not just the 5th November.
For some of us it is a very exciting time, but our cats and dogs might not agree.
It is not unusual for out beloved cats and dogs to be worried or become nervous of firework.We can help by identifying when they are becoming anxious and Newdigate Vets have provided some advice to help calm, relieve and control the situation.
Here are some tell tale signs to look out for if your dog is feeling anxious:
- Trembling and shaking
- Clinging to owners
- Barking excessively
- Cowering and hiding
- Trying to run away
- Soiling the house
- Pacing and panting
- Refusing to eat
Does your dog display any of these behaviours? Then breathe a sigh of relief as there are things you can do to help.
You can provide a ‘safe haven’ – create somewhere snug and secure for your dogs to settle away from the noise. Nice warm blankets, and their favourite and familiar toys will help. You can even spray the blankets with Adaptil.
Pheromones, supplements and medications – pheromones are a chemical secreted to give signals to dogs, one of the uses is for mothers to reassure their puppies so this can help put them at ease. They come in diffusers, sprays and collars. There are also various options of supplements or veterinary prescribed medications that can help your dog relax. Give us a call at the surgery to discuss what could be appropriate for your dogs.
Keep your dogs indoors during fireworks – make sure your windows and doors are all closed to keep them inside as some dogs might try to run away. It is now a legal requirement that all dogs must have a microchip.
Ensure their microchip details are up to date in case they do manage to get out, it will be much easier to reunite them with you.
Draw your curtains and put your television on – this will help to drown out the noise of the fireworks and stop flashes from being visible inside.
Don’t punish your dog – they will be anvious and punishing or shouting at them will only increase their stress levels.
Avoid leaving your dogs alone – they will be reassured by your company and normal behaviour. If they are left along this will increase their anxiety and they may display more stressful behaviour.
If your cat hides on top of a cupboard or under furniture then we suggest you leave them to it and try not to coax them out (unless they are putting their lives in serious danger) – They have more than likely found their ‘bolthole’ and will feel most secure there – you could put some of their blankets with them, perhaps sprayed with Feliway to help them relax.
Make sure your cats are inside when the fireworks are on – Close all your doors, windows and cat flaps. We strongly advise that your cats have a microchip and their details are up to date. If they do manage to run away it will be much easier to reunite them with you.
Pheromones, supplements and medications – similar to dogs, there are pheromone diffusers and sprays available to help put cats at ease during stressful situations, as well as medications on a veterinary prescription. Give us a call here at the surgery to discuss what would be most appropriate for your cat.
Give your cats a litter tray before and during firework season – they may be too nervous to go outside to the loo, or they may not be able to get out if you have locked all the doors and windows!
Draw the curtains and turn on the television – this will help drown out the sound of the fireworks and stop any flashes being visible from the inside.
Ignore fearful behaviour and do not try to comfort, pick up or restrain – most fearful cats prefer to be left to cope on their own. However some cats are very human orientated and despite not wanting to be restrained, they may wish to remain in your presence.
Stay calm and act normally. Animals can easily pick up on abnormal behaviour.
It is important to keep an eye on the recovery of your cats and dogs following the firework season. If you think they are taking a long time to recover or still seem very nervous a few days after the fireworks, then we recommend they see their vet.