We all know pets can be scared of fireworks and thunder, which is understandable because fireworks are scary! They are a loud BANG out of nowhere followed by crackles and more loud bangs. They just don’t understand what it is!
Anytime there are fireworks or a storm there are scared animals brought into vet clinics everywhere as strays, which have been found wondering and scared because of fireworks.
Another common issue we see as a result of fireworks and thunder is injury. Dogs that are so scared that they risk injuring themselves while attempting to escape their houses and yards. We have even seen dogs that have smashed through windows out of fear.
It is important to avoid leaving your pet at home alone if possible when there are fireworks planned or a storm forecast.
The question is what can we do to help our poor pets?
Try not to change your own behaviour and fuss over your pet too much during fireworks, your pet is relying on your to tell them if this is a real threat or not and this can encourage your pet to feel that there is a real. The best thing you can do is continue what you are doing whilst giving gentle and occasional reassurance.
You can try to desensitize your pet. This involves playing a recording of fireworks/thunder on repeat, starting it at the lowest possible volume and over the course of several days slowly increasing the volume. As you increase the volume offer things your pet enjoys such as treats, play or cuddles. If at any stage you notice your pet getting stressed, turn the volume down again to a point to which they feel comfortable. Repeat until your pet is comfortable with the recording at a high volume.
Please note that a recording is not the same as experiencing actual fireworks but can help reduce the fear and anxiety they experience.
Over the counter treatments
There are multiple things you can try to help with fireworks related anxiety.
Thundershirts are coats that you put on the animal which applies gentle and constant pressure. It works on the similar concept to weighted blankets for humans and swaddling babies.
When used correctly, a Thundershirt can help 80% of animals with anxiety. Speak to our staff about the proper use of a Thundershirt.
It is important to never leave a Thundershirt on your animal unsupervised.
Zykene is an over the counter product which has recently been released in Australia to help with anxiety. It contains a molecule that is derived from the milk protein, casein, which is known to encourage relaxation.
If you have tried the above options without success. Book a consult with one of our vets to discuss medication to aid with anxiety.
NOTE : We cannot dispense any medication without an appointment with a veterinarian first.
A reminder to ensure make sure your pets microchip details are in you’re your name and up to date so that in the event you’re pet escapes and gets picked up by the council or handing in to a vet clinic, you can be contacted and hopefully return your animal.
For more information on anxiety or to book and appointment, please contact us on 03 5174 6999