Cornish vet practice, Kernow vets is urging pet parents to take precautions to safeguard their pets from harm in the run-up to Bonfire Night.
Kernow Vets based in Bodmin, Lostwithiel, St Austell and Liskeard in Cornwall, are alerted to cases of distressed pets every year, with many animals experiencing anxiety due to the noise and flashes of fireworks.
Practice manager Renay Rickard said “Bonfire season is a wonderful time to enjoy fireworks displays and spend time with family, however many owners underestimate the stress that fireworks can cause to their dogs and cats. Make sure you start preparing early – using a specially made desensitisation CD can help if done well in advance. But if you have not been able to do this then try some of these helpful tips
∙ Exercise – Dogs become more relaxed in the evening if they have burned a lot of energy during the day. Be sure to take your dog out for plenty of energetic exercise ahead of a night of fireworks.
∙ Out of sight, out of mind – Flashing fireworks can alarm any animal, so close your curtains to block out any bright lights that can worry your pet.
∙ Turn up the volume – Turn the television up or play music to drown out the bangs of the fireworks outside. Research has shown that classical music is particularly effective at calming pets. Or try music with a repetitive beat to help mask the sounds outside.
∙ Don’t Fuss – It is best to adopt a calm approach. If you pet is used to your reassurance then comfort them as you would normally. But often they would just like to hide away – and that’s where building a den for them comes in. Or try a special ‘thunder shirt’ for added security and comfort.
∙ Make a den – Dogs might like a den behind a sofa in a quiet room or even at the bottom of a cupboard. In the weeks leading up to firework season, give your dog access to this den at all times. Cover the den with blankets and line it with pillows or cushions to absorb some of the noise. Give healthy treats and praise when your dog uses it, to build a positive association but don’t force them to use it if they prefer to hide somewhere else.
∙ Fireworks? What Fireworks? – Distract your pet with stuffed food toys and chews to take their mind off what’s going on outside. Keep the situation playful and fun, the fireworks will be over before your furry friend even notices.
Not all pets are affected in the same way by fireworks, and vets offer a range of support treatments like pheromone sprays and calming medicines. Call your local vet to find out more.
Kernow Vets are open 7 days a week and have clinics in Bodmin, St. Austell, Lostwithiel and Liskeard.
Pictured here is Dizzy getting comfortable in her new firework den and special ‘Thunder Shirt’ which keeps pets comforted and relaxed