Monday 19 October 2009

Fireworks and pets

At this time of year, peaceful autumn evenings are disrupted by the noise of bangers and other fireworks. While some animals are not fussed by this, others become desperately anxious and upset. Sedatives for such cases are an old fashioned answer, and they often do not work very well. A better approach is to get pets used to fireworks-type noises using specially designed CD's with soundtrack of fireworks - these cost around €20 and are available online.
It's also worth using a DAP diffuser with calming pheromones, available from vets as well as online.
There is a website with free downloads of fireworks audio tracks which I'll put up soon - meanwhile, see this site for a few more tips.

Otherwise, basic tips for getting pets through fireworks season include:
* Keep pets indoors and make sure you provide as calm an environment as possible
* Avoid comforting pets because they will are rewarding them for acting scared, which will make them worse. Instead, praise and rewardyour pet if they are being calm.
* Ensure pets are wearing ID tags and are microchipped in case they escape.
* Draw the curtains and if pets are used to sounds from the TV or radio, switch them on (not too loudly).
* Rabbits or small animals kept outside should be brought indoors, or make sure their hutch is turned to face the wall.
* Try not to leave your pet alone if they are stressed at fireworks time. If you do go out try not to be cross with them if they have been destructive. Telling off a scared animal will just make them much worse.

In summary, here are some simple tips:

1) Plan for your pet in advance
2) Create a safe den away from fireworks noises
3) Use a DAP plug-in diffuser with calming pheromones
4) Use fireworks sound tracks in advance of noisy times