Ashlea Veterinary Centre Ltd, Unit 2b Port Road Business Park, Carlisle CA2 7AF  Reg no: 4759132


 Firework Phobias

Year after year we are asked for help by owners of pets terrified by Bonfire Night.  And while many animals may need the support that only tranquillizers can provide, there are some basic strategies that everyone can use.

Preparation for fireworks

• Create a refuge

Make a special place where your pet can hide away from noise.  Ideally, near the centre of the house or where he/she feels most at home.  Encourage your pet to use this refuge by offering food etc.  This area must be accessible to your pet at all times.

Provide plenty of blankets for your pet to dig in/hide beneath.  Including an unwashed item of your clothing may also help.

Remove any hazards

The TV / Video /ornaments can be expensive to replace and can be a danger to hysterical animals in a “blind panic” situation.

Use a Pheromone diffuser

Plug in an Adaptil diffuser (dogs) / Feliway diffuser (cats) close to your refuge area – ideally run continuously for 1 week before and after the anticipated firework noise. Perhaps use Adaptil/Feliway spray on the pet’s bedding beds or an Adaptil collar for dogs while out on exercise

•  Exercise

Walk your dog on a lead in case he/she runs off in fear.  If possible, avoid areas where fireworks may be heard and walk during daylight hours or after all noise has stopped.  Keep your cats indoors, remember to lock the cat flap, and put extra litter trays down

•   Feeding

If a local display is expected, feed a high protein meal (meat) followed a couple of hours later stodgy meal such as mashed potato, pasta or overcooked rice.  This stimulates the release of Insulin which promotes the uptake of tryptophan, a precursor the relaxing chemical, serotonin.

•   Background noise

Play background rhythmic music to mask some of the firework noise.  It doesn’t have to be loud.  Close the curtains to muffle outside noises.

•   Don’t add to your pet’s stress

Try and ignore the noises yourself and engage your pet in an active game; ignore any fearful behaviour that occurs e.g. panting, shaking, whining.   As far as possible don’t fuss or try to reassure your dog when its scared, as this will reward the behaviour and may even make things worse.  And whatever you do, don’t punish your dog when it is scared.

Further help

Our nurses are available for free consultation to guide you through the various options that can be used to train/desensitize your pet.  A variety of medical therapies are available and the suitability of these would be decided on a case by case basis by one of our vets.   A number of factors will determine which combination of therapies are right for you and your pet and the level of success you achieve.  These will include:

a) the severity of the problem & other behavioural issues

b) the timing in relation to the exposure to the stimulus

c) your pet’s state of health

d) financial constraints

e) the amount of time available for training

f) your determination to persevere

Please, for the sake of your pet, please act as early as possible.  

Phone our reception on 01228 549177 for a free consultation

 with one of our qualified veterinary nurses.

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