The firework season is almost upon us once again.
And for many pets, this is a particularly stressful time of the year which unfortunately, now lasts from mid October until after the New Year in many areas.
Thankfully, a little forward planning goes a long way to ensuring that pets remain as safe and as comfortable as possible, during this challenging period.
This is especially important for dogs who are badly affected by a cacophony of flashing lights, whizzes and bangs, and who typically show one or more of the following signs:
- restless pacing
- barking or whining
- asking for much more contact or reassurance than usual
- wanting to be left alone
- a heightened sensitivity to sound or touch
- toileting in the house
- refusing meals
Once fight or flight reactions are aroused, high levels of adrenaline and other ‘stress’ hormones coursing through the body, can make it extremely difficult to calm an affected pet down.
Far more effective, is to help a pet remain calm before this happens, by ensuring that they feel as safe, secure and relaxed as possible at home, long before any fireworks are let off.
The following steps have proven invaluable, in this respect:
1. PLAN AHEAD
There is an old saying 'well begun is half done.' Putting stress-relieving measures in place early, and having the tools to hand that best help, increase the likelihood of a pet coping as successfully as they can throughout the firework season.
2. INCREASE ACTIVITY
Excess energy fuels anxiety, and the more this can be dissipated, the less reactive your dog is likely to be when the fireworks begin.
Vigorous walks and more of them is good for this (unless there is a health reason not to), as is playing games throughout the day.
Scent work and similar activities are particularly beneficial, as the concentration these require, is much more tiring than physical exertion alone. And this can be as simple as hiding favourite treats in the garden to be hunted down.
3. MAINTAIN A REGULAR ROUTINE
Many pets become unsettled by changes in daily habits.
To avoid any additional source of anxiety, it is best therefore, to keep feeding and exercise times the same as normal as much as possible.
If walks or mealtimes need to be moved to earlier in the day to avoid clashing with fireworks, it is less disruptive to do this gradually over the course of a few weeks, well before the new routine needs to be in place.
4. KEEP INDOORS
Make sure your pet is home and all doors, windows and pet flaps are locked well ahead of the first firework being let off. Drawing the curtains and turning up the radio or TV help to block out upsetting flashes and bangs. Some dogs and cats respond well to calming music and sounds.
5. CREATE SAFE SPACES
Creating a 'den' which provide a safe haven to retreat to if needed, helps many pets feel safe and secure. This can simply be the bed they naturally go to when anxious, with the addition of a few extra blankets, favourite toys, and possibly a few human companion’s clothes. If retreating under a bed or a table is preferred, this can be converted into a comforting space.
Regularly sprinkling the remedies in the Fireworks Combination Pack in these areas, can significantly increase the sense of security felt there.
6. USE CLINICALLY PROVEN VINCE THE VET FIREWORKS REMEDIES
The botanical extracts in Vince the Vet's Firework Combination Pack soothe, calm, relax and desensitise noise sensitive pets to sudden sounds and loud bangs.
The effects of these remedies are cumulative, and so the longer they are given, the greater their calming effect when this is most needed.
Ideally therefore, it is best to start daily dosing as early in October as possible, and continue until just after the New Year celebrations have finished.
In the run up to the noisiest nights, 2-3 drops 3 times daily is sufficient in most cases. This can then be increased to hourly or half hourly administration if needed, during peak firework activity.
And because the active ingredients in the remedies are botanical extracts, there is no possibility of overdosing.
7. GIVE PLENTY OF REASSURANCE
Shouting at or becoming frustrated with a stressed pet only increases anxiety and makes matters worse. In the face of relentless barking or whining, a chewed table leg or toileting in the house, reassurance and understanding may be hard. If the measures outlined here are implemented however, these kinds of scenarios are much less likely – to the relief of all concerned!
8. MEDICAL CONDITIONS
If a pet has a health problem which could be affected by stress (such as diabetes for example), it is advisable that they are checked over by a vet well beforehand so that treatment can be adjusted if necessary.
As always, if there are any questions or queries at all regarding any of these topics, please don't hesitate to contact us.