Please take extra special care of your pets this week

JimNovember 5th is one of my favourite nights of the year. I like nothing better than standing by a roaring bonfire with a large piece of parkin in my hand watching the rockets explode overhead.

I know that the night is a celebration, but imagine how it must feel if you don’t know this. Suddenly the sky is filled with strange lights and loud noises it must be very confusing.

This is how our pets must feel at this time of year and for many of them these strange lights and loud noises are terrifying.

It is therefore up to us as their carers to do all we can to overcome their anxiety.

They will feel safer at home when the fireworks start so it is best to walk dogs in the daytime and to make sure your cat is in and the cat flap locked. Pets have far more sensitive hearing than we do so make sure windows are shut and curtains drawn to muffle the sounds from outside and keep out any flashes. It also helps to have the television or some music on in the background as again this will help drown out noise from outside.

It is also a good idea to make your pet a den were they can hide. Do this before the fireworks season starts it should be somewhere in the house they like to hide such as behind the sofa. They should have free access and be able to settle down comfortably. Cats often like their den to be raised off the ground. Placing old blankets, clothing or toys in the den will reassure them.

When the fireworks are on your pet can be distracted by playing with them or by giving them a chew.

If they are getting anxious or upset it is very important not to get angry with them, but rather to just ignore their behaviour. Unfortunately getting cross or giving them lots of extra attention confirms to them that there is something to fear.

If your pet is still anxious your vet will be able to help. We are reluctant to give out sedatives nowadays as these can make the pet worse in the long term as they are too groggy to hide. We now use medicines and pheromones designed to reduce anxiety.

If we help our pets in this way we can enjoy bonfire night as well knowing they are fine.

Jim Morris, Principal Vet and owner, Haven Veterinary Group.

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