HELPING OUR PETS THROUGH THE FIREWORK SEASON:
Well the firework season is fast approaching so at Blackwater Valley Vets we hope that the following pointers will hopefully help our client’s pets have a less stressful time.
Loud bangs and bright lights can really frighten and confuse our pets which puts them under a great deal of emotional stress and a lack of control. Inappropriate or out of character behaviours can be exhibited by cats, dogs and even our small furries especially bunnies.
Unfortunately the firework season often starts at Halloween and goes right through until New Year’s Eve so anything we can do to alleviate the impact of these stressful events can help as stress increases activity in the central nervous system and the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
Our Feline Friends: Cats have coping strategies like fleeing or freezing so providing easily accessible bolt holes and hiding places can help them feel in more control.
These places can be areas under the bed, under the sofa, open cupboards or tops of wardrobes. Supermarket cardboard boxes make private hidey holes and resting places. Keeping your cat in when it starts to get dark and providing a litter tray placed in a quiet and private part of the house will help and our cats will feel safer inn their core” territory indoors. Try not to over compensate with giving your cat extra attention as this can make the situation worse over time, just try to ignore them and let them hide.
Placing a further feeding station and a second litter tray upstairs may be a handy addition if your cat flees under the bed. An upstairs landing has worked for me in the past. Pulling curtains across or pulling down blinds blocks the sight of bright lights and leaving a radio on or the TV can help muffle loud noises going on outside.
Our Canine Friends: Dogs are more vocal and more obvious with their body language than our feline friends which can be upsetting to us owners. Keeping to your pets usual routine will give them predictability, keeping the TV or Radio on as a background noise could help drown out some of the noise associated with firework displays.
Again block the view from bright lights by closing the curtains or pulling down blinds. Try not to give your dog extra attention although I appreciate this is not easy when your dog is shaking or trying to climb the walls! Taking your dog out for an earlier walk before dark and before any fireworks are set off is a good idea or even feeding earlier in the evening to encourage toileting afterwards.
** Please make sure your pet Dogs and Cats are microchipped, as this can be invaluable should your pet freak out, run off or escape.
If your pet rabbit is outside in a hutch, place some towels or a blanket over most of the hutch to block out bright lights. Provide plenty of hay in the bedding area so that your Bunny can burrow.
Supplements which may help:
Adaptil for Dogs and Feliway for Cats are handy to help with emotional stress or anxiety. These omit appeasing pheromones which come in a diffuser plug in which lasts a month with refills available and also as a spray version. For puppies and adult dogs there is the Adaptil Collar which can be adjusted to fit and worn in conjunction with your own dog’s collar.
The Royal Canin Calm Food which is a dry diet for both cats and dogs contains a combination of Alpha Casozepine a milk peptide known for its calming effects and L-tryptophan an amino acid that regulates mood as it is a precursor for serotonin.
Serotonin plays an essential role in the regulation of mood, anxiety, sleep and appetite so thus has the properties of a natural anti-depressant without the side effects. The Calm diet is highly digestible, palatable and has added nutrients to support the skin, urinary tract and digestion. It comes in 2kg or 4kg bags and ideally needs to be fed a week or two before the proposed stressful event. The diet can be fed short or long term if needed unless your pet is on a special veterinary prescription diet or is an older pet.
Calmex for Dogs and Cats: This is another complimentary option to consider, it comes in a liquid form for cats and as a capsule for dogs. Calmex also contains L-tryptophan the precursor for Serotonin, a plant extract Piper Methysticum that helps with anxiety and B vitamins that support the nervous system. Calmex only needs to be given a day or so before the stressful event.
Finally there is Zylkene which can be given to cats and dogs which comes in a capsule form that you open and then sprinkle the powder contents onto the pet’s food. Zylkene is a milk peptide powder and mimics mum’s milk. In studies on puppies and kittens they found that they were at their most relaxed and content when sucking from their mothers. Ideally Zylkene needs to be given a week to ten days before the stressful event.
Until the end of December 2016 we are offering a 15% discount on all of the supplements mentioned at both our Gordon House Veterinary Surgery and our Elm Cottage Veterinary Surgery. We really hope this helps our clients and helps our beloved pets cope a bit better during stressful events. Our pets are part of the family after all.
A Handy Website;
You may want to visit Sound Therapy 4 Pets which allows you to download a therapy pack for Dogs which may help with de sensitising them before the Fireworks start.