It seems like it was only just summer here in the UK but as we are reaching the end of September sadly it’s once again time for our annual firework season in this part of the world!
Hence why we thought it about time to start sharing some firework season advice with you all once again. 🙂
Fireworks can be extremely stressful for many pets both from our own experience and through advice from professional bodies such as the PDSA.
PDSA Vet Rebecca Ashman said:
“Anyone who has had a pet that suffers from fireworks phobia will know how challenging it can be. Pets have very acute hearing and, for them, the loud bangs can be terrifying. They can shake with fear, they might go to the toilet in the house, destroy furniture, and could even injure themselves if they panic or run away.”
Sadly we have to second this as one of our family members has a dog that got forever changed by a bad fireworks incident… he got terrified and sadly has never been the same again outside of his home! And thus it’s important to ensure that we prepare our pets well in advance of the fireworks season.
In addition to providing your pets safe hiding space at home and ideally not letting them out at the time of fireworks you can also use calming aids such as Zylkene in order to help ease this time of the year for your pets.
We’ve of course trialed this product with our own cats and are fully behind its statement as you can see from our post with a friend’s shy cat for example.
But what about our own kitties? Well, their testimonial for the product has been awesome too! Remember earlier in the year when we moved houses with a nearly 3 hours car journey? We made this journey as comfortable as possible for them and started with a course of Zylkene well before the trip to ensure that their nerves were calmed and we didn’t have to suffer a long journey with unhappy cats!
And it really is easy to give these to your pet, simply mix it into their favourite treat and they will start associating Zylkene with getting a treat. In fact so much that simply getting out a box of them now causes Renegade & Freya to get all excited. 😉
Yes, they tried breaking into the package as they were hoping it was time for a nice treat “enriched” with Zylkene. 😉
As you can see it’s easy to mix into liquid treats!
Of course, this is not the only thing you can try to keep them happy and calm during this season. There are other tips that you can use as well and the PDSA has some great ones at that!
PDSA Vet Rebecca Ashman offers the following additional advice
- Buy a sound CD or stream them online, and very gradually introduce your pet to these types of noises. Play them quietly in another room to start with, and make sure you remain calm and act normally. Reward your pet when they remain calm, and if they become anxious then stop immediately and try again later with a lower volume. When they show no reaction, very gradually increase the volume and duration over a period of several weeks.
- Build a hideaway den for your pet several weeks ahead – this should be somewhere they feel safe. For dogs this may be behind the sofa or under a table – cover it with blankets and line it with pillows to reduce any sound. Cats often feel safest when high up, so a safely secured cat bed on a shelf or wardrobe may be their preferred option. Don’t force them to use this, but do reward them with praise or a healthy treat when they do, so they build a positive association.
- If you have a young pet who will be experiencing fireworks for the first time, then this experience can often feed into how they react to fireworks into adulthood. Read up on the process of socialisation, which is when young pets are introduced to a variety of people, objects, sounds and experiences at a critical stage of their development during their first few months of life. How you react is also very important – remaining calm will help to reassure them the noises are nothing to worry about. When done correctly, socialisation can significantly reduce the likelihood of fears developing in later life.
- For severe phobias, we recommend speaking to your vet, who will be able to discuss various options including referral to an accredited behaviourist.
We hope you found these tips useful and remember, don’t wait until the fireworks start! Be prepared and start the process in advance of likely periods of fireworks.