Vets at an Essex animal hospital are urging pet lovers to be well prepared for fireworks season.
With large-scale bonfire events scrapped this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Southfields Veterinary Specialists, in Laindon, is warning that household firework displays may be more popular than ever.
Fireworks, as well as noisy celebrations such as Halloween, Diwali, Christmas and new year are all identified as occasions which can cause stress for pets – and, in turn, an anxious time for owners.
Daniel Hogan, hospital director at Southfields, said: “This is a challenging time of year for pet owners, as there are so many potential triggers of stress in animals coming up over the next few months.
“There are the bangs of fireworks, the noisy and hectic festive season – including unfamiliar faces and smells – and, of course, this year with public events largely unable to go ahead, we could well see many more small-scale displays.
“All of these can cause stress for pets and while some owners will seek guidance or have experience of supporting their pets, there will also be those who haven’t been through this before.
“Pet ownership has dramatically increased throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, so supporting pets through the potential stress of ‘fireworks season’ will be a new experience for many people.”
Chris Scudder, head of internal medicine at Southfields, said: “There are numerous ways pet owners can help their animals cope with the stress of fireworks, such as distracting them with active play, the television or some calm, soothing music.
“We’d also recommend owners of young dogs who are experiencing their first Halloween, Bonfire Night and fireworks season begin a programme of counter-conditioning with the first firework.
“However, one of our top recommendations for pet owners is to remain calm. While it may be tempting to comfort a spooked cat or dog, this can actually be counter-productive.
“If owners appear to be unaffected, pets will feel more secure and confident. Finally, some pets could also benefit from pheromone diffusers and nutritional supplements.”
For more information about Southfields, and for further advice about helping pets keep calm during fireworks season, visit www.southfields.co.uk or search for Southfields Veterinary Specialists on social media.
Southfields Veterinary Specialists’ advice to dog owners
- Walk your dog before dark – make sure your dog is well exercised and has had a toilet break before the fireworks begin
- Feed your dog before the fireworks begin as they may become unsettled and not want to eat during the fireworks
- Make sure your house and garden are secure during the fireworks as fear may make your dog try to escape
- Try to settle your dog before the fireworks start – if your dog is in familiar safe surroundings it will help them cope with the noise
- Provide a safe hiding place – make sure your dog has somewhere safe in their favourite room, perhaps under a table
Close curtains, turn lights on, and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out firework noises and flashing lights