October 2014. The firework season will soon be here…

Well hello pet friends, Nog here again…………

I have been rather quiet since I returned from my holidays, but autumn is well and truly upon us now which means the start of the firework season. Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali, Christmas and New Year celebrations are all times of great fun and gatherings for your lovely pet owners, but they can be very stressful for dogs, cats, small furry pets and birds.

 There are things your owners can do to help you stay safe, calm and stress free through this busy time of year. The vetsnurses and I have put together our top tips for you to share with your owners

For my dog friends…….

  • Provide a safe haven ideally an inside room with soft furnishings which is as dark, comfortable and quiet as possible. Establish this as a safe, happy place well before the firework season begins
  •  Make sure your owners take you for a walk well before dusk when the fireworks will start, so you are more settled and will not need to go out again until after fireworks have finished
  • Having your tea earlier than usual can also help you stay relaxed when coupled with a walk
  •  Make sure the radio or TV is left on to provide background noise – do you like listening to the archers or watching The Secret Life of Cats?- that’s my favourite!
  •  Make sure you are safely indoors before any nearby firework parties are planned to start and get someone from your family to stay with you, you shouldn’t be left on your own
  • Make sure the curtains are drawn, this will help muffle sounds
  • It is a great time to be given a new toy or treat to distract you from any unusual sounds that might be going on outdoors

For my cat friends……….

  •  Cats will need a safe place in the home, which is dark and warm. If your cat chooses to hide under the bed or in the bottom of a wardrobe let them stay there until fireworks have finished, don’t attempt to move them 
  •  Make sure all cats-even those who are usually allowed to go night time hunting-are safely indoors with cat flaps locked before dusk when fireworks might start
  •  Provide an indoor litter tray, even if  your cat does not normally use one, introduce this before the firework season begins
  •  Cats like music too! So get your owners to leave on the radio or the TV with the volume turned up
  •  Get your owners to play a game with you and give you treats so that you the new noises will bring positive associations  Make sure the curtains are drawn, this can prevent cats being startled by flashing lights

We all need to be micro-chipped, and as I have told you earlier in the year, it will soon be a legal requirement for dogs, but it is especially important at this time of year. If a pet is frightened by fireworks and escapes, it will be much easier for you to be re-united with your owners if you have a microchip. At The Vet Centre Ltd we are still offering free microchips for dogs until April next year through Dogs Trust.

If there are small furry pets or birds in your household they need also need thinking about during firework season:

  • Consider bringing pet hutches in a shed or garage with  blankets or duvets over the top to muffle the sound
  •  For outside caged birds make sure the aviary is secure and consider covering temporarily with a tarpaulin
  •  Put extra bedding in small boxes for small furies to burrow into

There are extra things your owners can do by talking to the vets or nurses who will be very happy to help and advise

  •  Consider Zylkene tablets- a natural product derived from milk protein which helps pets  cope when facing unusual or unpredictable situations
  •  Use Adaptil/Feliway diffusers, sprays or collars in your safe den area. Appeasing pheromones produce a calming effect
  •    Our vets can advise on drug treatments which can help you stay calm through the firework season

It is important that your owners don’t:

  •      Comfort, sooth or punish you if you get stressed by the fireworks- it would be much better to play a game with you and not react to unusual behaviours
  •      Lock you in a crate that cannot get out of, that will only increase your stress levels

If your family are planning a bonfire in your garden, make sure you check for wildlife that might have decided it looked a nice dry winter home before lighting it!

Finally please make sure your lovely owners chat to the vets and nurses for more advise and specific treatments, then we can all enjoy the firework season,

Bye from Nog for now…