Guy Fawkes and sound phobias

By: Nina Smith

We all love fireworks, but for our pets this time of year can be very stressful.

To make matters worse, fireworks are often used throughout summer.

Dogs are very prone to sound phobias, with 40-50 per cent of dogs affected.

What starts as nervousness or fear can develop into a true phobia.

This is extremely debilitating for pets, upsetting for owners and requires veterinary intervention.

The good news is that lots can be done to help. Talk to neighbours so you know when they will be using fireworks. Walk your dog early and settle them into a room that is centrally placed inside the house for greater sound proofing (never the garage), with minimal windows and blackout curtains.

Products such as mutt muffs and thundershirts can help, as can calmex, Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats.

Lock cat-flaps to keep your cat indoors.

Ensure that pets are microchipped and registered, so that in the worst case scenario, you can be reunited with them.  Create a safe haven - a place your pet is normally happy in.

Cover it and include bedding to allow burrowing underneath. Play music or white noise and have special toys (only used at these times) to distract them. Remain calm and present, provide quiet reassurance but don’t reinforce their anxiety by excessive fussing or treats.

Unfortunately, over time, firework fears worsen and can become very debilitating. If your pet suffers from this, please seek veterinary help early.

There are anti-anxiety medications that will make a huge difference for your pet and desensitisation programmes to teach them not to be frightened.

Nobody needs to suffer while others celebrate, so contact your vet today.

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