Dogs, cats, noise phobias and fireworks

It’s that time of year again! Take time to think about the effect of loud noises on your pets.

The popularity of fireworks has increased in recent years and fireworks can be set off at any time of the year, to celebrate birthdays or weddings as well as religious celebrations and various ‘New Years’.

Fireworks season can be difficult for pets with a sound sensitivity; their anxiety levels rise in anticipation of fireworks as they can associate changes in seasons with an event. As pets will start to become increasingly anxious about fireworks, you need to start thinking and planning for this annual event in advance.

There are a few fundamentals that you can prepare in advance which will help your pet through a stressful event such as fireworks or parties.

• Ensure you walk your pet during daylight, avoid walking in the evening when festivities are most likely to begin. An extra-long walk might make them a little more tired than usual, and they may settle easier, especially after a full yummy dinner too!

• Make sure your pets are safe, secure and settled inside well before it gets dark. Inside the house is preferred as stressed or frightened pets, even inside fenced yards, can find ways to escape. Double check all doors, windows and cat-flaps are secure.

• Provide a den - a safe haven your pets can retreat to; an area that they feel secure in. Ideally this should be in an internal room that is easily accessed. Keep a radio or tv going with constant background noise to mask the loud bangs from outside.

• Stay with your pets for reassurance, this will keep them settled and feeling secure. Keep them busy with toys and games, and lots of cuddles. 

• Adaptil - The use of Adaptil® (a synthetic copy of the dog appeasing pheromone) has been shown to reduce anxiety and help dogs cope with challenging situations, including firework events, as demonstrated in many scientific studies. Also available for cats is Feliway.

• The worst case scenario is your pet frights and bolts. PLEASE make sure your pets are microchipped and the details are registered with the New Zealand Companion Animal Register.

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