Archive for October, 2019

New Veterinary Specific Equine Calmer

Fireworks can be worrying for all animals, including horses. We are now stocking a new veterinary specific calming supplement which can be beneficial for a number of scenarios including helping to settle some horses during firework season. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact our vets for advice on 01482 898301 Opt.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to create a ‘Pet Den’

How to create a ‘Pet Den’

The pet den is by far one of most useful tools when it comes to managing phobias and anxieties and is very simple to create for any pet. This needs to be an area where your pet feels relaxed and secure. Maybe there’s already somewhere your pet naturally gravitates to when feeling threatened or unsure. Make this space as cosy and comfortable as you can to encourage your pet to use it by giving treats, toys or feeding in this area. If there’s no existing area where your pet likes to go, create one! Use a bed or pet crate and fill it with soft blankets and cushions. Place your pet’s favourite toy in there, along with drinking water. Ideally the crate should go under a table or a bed – somewhere slightly concealed from view – but if that’s not possible, place it in a corner or against a wall and cover it with a blanket or bedsheet to provide some privacy and reduce some of the noise disturbance. The darker and quieter, the better.

 

To make the den even more inviting, spray it with a pheromone spray like, Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats) to help promote feelings of calm and contentment. These products also come as plug-in-style room diffusers and have a similar effect. Pet Remedy has blends of essential oils which help calm the nerves of pets affected by firework fear. This includes rabbits, birds and other pets too.  (NB: There are other brands of anti-anxiety therapies available too.) When it comes to creating a den, the sooner you do it, the better. Your pet needs a chance to get used to the area and accept it as a safe place. Make sure the den is accessible at all times so your pet can visit it even when you’re not at home.

 

Fireworks & Pets

Supporting your pet through the fireworks season

With fireworks season seeming to last from the end of October right through to New Year and beyond, it is important to provide your pet with supportive adjustments that don’t cost the earth and once put into place, can be used each year to manage anxieties.

Follow these helpful tips to support your pet and consider attending a ‘Nervous Nellies’ clinic in one of our branches, to learn how you can help to desensitise your pet to scary sounds ready for next year’s festivities.

Be prepared!

  • Before fireworks season begins, get your pet microchipped and, if they already are, check your contact details are up to date. This is really important as it gives you the best chance of being reunited with your pet if they become spooked and accidently get lost amid the bangs and crashes.
  • Speak to your vet or nurse about pheromone treatments and herbal anti-anxiety supplements. They need to be started at least a week before fireworks as they need time to build up. They should be continued right through the season until about two weeks after all fireworks have finished. These treatments/supplements can help your pet to feel less anxious but will not sedate
  • Make sure your pet stays inside at night during firework season. Check the dates and times of local displays so you know when to keep your pet in. If you have a dog, make sure you take them out before it gets dark, in plenty of time before the fireworks start. If you have a cat, provide a litter tray indoors.
  • Block off pet flaps to stop them from getting outside and to help muffle the sound of bangs and zips.
  • You can help to block out the noise of fireworks by switching on the TV or radio, if your pet is already used to the sound, but make sure it’s not too loud or you may hurt your pet’s ears.
  • Close the curtains or black out the windows as it will help to block out the sight of bright flashes, which may scare your pet.

During the event

  • Let your pet pace around freely inside your home or hide if they want to. Provide a safe place (see our page on ‘how to create a pet den’), so your pet can choose to hide in it or stay by your side. Don’t try to coax your pet/s out of hiding places unless they are in immediate danger – they are trying to find a safe place and shouldn’t be disturbed.
  • Although it’s difficult when it’s obvious your pet is stressed, try to act calm and casual and do things in the house as normal. Calm behaviour reassures your pet that there is nothing to be afraid of, a bit like when your pet first heard a noisy hoover or washing machine. Keep your pet busy indoors – play games or enjoy some reward-based training to keep their mind off the noises, if they aren’t hiding.
  • Avoid leaving your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events, especially during the week around Bonfire Night. If you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your pet if they have toileted in the house after being left on their own. Shouting at an already frightened pet will only make them more stressed.

After it’s all over

  • When the fireworks have finished, continue to allow your pet access to their ‘safe place’ and continue any anti-anxiety supplements for at least two weeks following the end of fireworks season.
  • Prepare for next season by visiting dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets or speak to your vet or nurse for helpful advice on how to desensitise your pet to scary sounds. Desensitisation is the only way to prevent your pet reacting to fireworks in the future and it is simple to do. Desensitisation can take time to complete, so won’t be achievable for this year’s firework season, but it is possible to achieve for next year, if started before next August.

Don’t forget….bunnies and other small pets need to be considered during firework season too!

 

Remember, remember your pets in November !

Remember, remember your pets in November……we know that #BonfireNight can be great fun, but when it comes to our pets, we also know Guy Fawkes has a lot to answer for!  We’ll be sharing tips on our Facebook page during October of things you can do to help your pet feeling safe.

  • Walk your dog early in the evening and bring your cat indoors before dark.

  • Feed your pet earlier in the day (before fireworks are likely to begin).  Once loud noises have started, your pet may become unsettled and not want to eat.

  • Never force your dog to go outside when fireworks are going off.  If they are happy to venture out, make sure that your garden is secure to prevent an escape in the event of sudden panic.

  • The best way to prepare for fireworks is to think like a dog.  They feel scared as they are alarmed by the loud noises of fireworks, but do not understand that fireworks cannot harm them, so feel safer when they have a hiding space.  You can make your dog a ‘dog den’.  Have a look on the internet for examples or ideas.  We will be re-creating one in our Reception so pop in and have a look.

  • Keep windows and doors closed to minimise noise and draw your curtains to reduce flash and bright lights.  This will also help to reduce escape attempts!  It’s also a good idea to switch the radio on as a distraction.

Lastly not forgetting our pets that live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed, but make sure your pet can still look out.  Also provide lots of extra bedding for them to burrow in.

If your pet is frightened by loud noises, don’t ignore the problem.  You should always seek advice from your vet.  We have a variety of products available such as pheromone diffusers and suppliments to help calm your pet, we also have leaflets and ask about our sound desensitising CD.