Preparing For A Safe and Stress-Free Firework Season
The firework season is almost upon us once again.
And for many pets, the combination of loud noises assaulting sensitive ears, plus fight or flight induced anxiety and stress, makes the period from mid-October to December 31st an upsetting time of the year.
With luck there will be less, large scale pyrotechnics this time around than in previous years because of Covid-19. The downside however, is that this is likely to lead to a sharp rise in shrill whistles and bangs closer to home, as celebrations switch to back gardens and local clearings instead.
It is therefore, perhaps even more important this year than ever, to take steps to ensure a pet’s safety and minimise distress in the months ahead - especially for sensitive pets who show signs of stress triggered by loud noises and bangs, which typically include one or more of the following:
- restless pacing
- barking or whining
- asking for more contact or reassurance than usual
- wanting to be left alone
- a heightened sensitivity to sound or touch
- toileting in the house
- refusing meals
- uncharacteristic irritability or aggression
Once fight or flight reactions are aroused, high levels of adrenaline and other ‘stress’ hormones coursing through the body, make it difficult to reassure and calm an affected pet.
A far more effective approach, is to take steps to help a pet feel as safe, secure and relaxed as possible at home, beginning long before any fireworks are let off.
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 a pet will cope far better with the festive season.
With this in mind be sure to have a Vince the Vet® Firework Combination Pack ready to hand, and begin to use as instructed (see below) a week or two before the first fireworks are let off.
2. Increase activity
Excess energy fuels anxiety and so the more this can be dissipated, the less reactive your pet is likely to be when all the noise begins.
Vigorous walks and more of them is good for this (unless there is a health reason not to), as is playing games with your pet when you can throughout the day. And, as mental stimulation is often more demanding than physical exertion alone, hiding favourite treats in the garden to be hunted down, is a great way to tire dogs out.
3. Maintain a regular routine
Most pets are 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 time.
Drawing the curtains and turning up the radio or TV, or playing calming music can help to block out unsettling flashes and sounds.
5. Create safe spaces
Building a 'den', which provides a safe haven to retreat to if needed, helps many dogs and cats feel safer. 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 of their human companion’s clothes.
If retreating under a bed or a table is preferred, a comforting place can be created there.
Regularly sprinkling Thunder and Fireworks and Fears and Anxieties in these spots, can significantly increase the sense of security felt there.
6. Use proven natural remedies
(They are available together for a limited time in the new Firework Combination Pack, for a saving of £16.)
Because the effect of giving these remedies is cumulative use as follows for the best results:
Beginning well before fireworks are due to begin (2 - 3 weeks or more, is ideal) give 2-3 drops of FEARS AND ANXIETIES 3 times daily, by gently dabbing on the outside of the lips with a clean finger. Alternatively, give in a small morsel of food.
Also sprinkle a few drops daily on bedding, toys, sleeping areas and in places your pet likes to go when feeling anxious or insecure.
Starting a day or two before the first fireworks are due to be let off, switch to giving 2-3 drops of THUNDER AND FIREWORKS 3 times daily, instead of FEARS AND ANXIETIES.
Also, sprinkle a few drops daily of FEARS AND ANXIETIES and THUNDER AND FIREWORKS in the home, as suggested above.
For the best results, continue using both remedies as described, throughout the whole firework season.
7. Give plenty of reassurance
Shouting at or becoming frustrated with a stressed pet, increases anxiety and makes matters worse. What is needed, is understanding and reassurance, as difficult as this may be in the face of relentless barking or whining, a chewed table leg or toileting in the house.
If the measures outlined here are implemented however, these kinds of behaviours 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 before the fireworks begin, so any treatment being provided can be adjusted as necessary.
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