At the Vets: Protect your pets from the annual scarefest

Sushi the kitten
Sushi the kitten

The pets of West Sussex – or indeed any county in UK – could probably do without next week; the annual scarefest of fireworks of all shapes and sizes, colours and noises, exploding around them.

Animals –pets or wildlife – often get incredibly stressed on Bonfire Night so it’s important to best prepare them for this event, or otherwise risk suffering both short and long term behavioural problems and phobias.

Luckily our knowledge of animal behaviour is vastly improved nowadays with many safe options and products available helping safeguard all pets; and helping them cope with what can be a very noisy and distressing period leading to signs including shaking, crying, hiding, panting, restlessness, or appearing ‘flat’ both mentally and physically.

Unconfident canines should be acclimatised before the big night using the many noise CDs/downloads available.

Make a safe den for your dog to retreat into if scared and distract from firework noises by turning the TV or radio up.

Try acting and behaving as calmly as normal, as your dog will pick up on any odd behaviour.

Reward good behaviour with treats and special toys. Feed and walk dogs before dusk, draw the curtains, ensuring all doors, windows, and cat/dog flaps are firmly closed.

Frightened felines may show behavioural problems including house soiling, and excessive grooming or aggression, so keep cats in after dark providing him or her with a litter tray if they usually toilet outside.

Small pets e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils need their hutches or cages brought indoors – preferably into a quiet room, garage or shed - giving them extra bedding to burrow into.

For a pet-friendly Fireworks Night why not enjoy hand-held cascading fireworks rather than noise-making varieties?

Keep fireworks safe, and bonfires well away from homes – carefully checking before lighting to make sure no hedgehogs are sleeping peacefully inside.

Make sure pets are microchipped too in case they escape. Useful calming products to ask your vet about include pheromone diffusers as plug-ins or sprays (Feliway and Adaptil), Zylkene, Dorwest Herbs Sculcap and Valerian, and Thundershirts.

Wishing you and your pets a safe and stress-free November 5th!

Don’t forget our Children’s Halloween Party tomorrow Oct 31st at Grove Lodge Vets Southwick with real snakes and fun competitions and pet advice. Call 01273 596201 for details.