The medication for firework phobia is most effective when started well in advance of the displays. We advise that if your pet suffers from this problem, treatment should be started without delay. Please make an appointment as soon as possible to discuss the most suitable treatment for your pet.
There are a number of medications which can be used to help with firework and noise fears. We can prescribe those which will be most effective, depending on the way your pet behaves when affected. These include pheromone diffusers, anti-anxiety medication and valium type drugs.
The medications are not sedatives. They will not knock your pet out. Old fashioned medications for fireworks often did, but it was found that these drugs could actually make the fear worse.
Products to help mild firework fear are also available on our webshop – have a look here or click on the blue button at the top of the page (and if you haven’t ordered from us before, use the code ASH1 to get 20% off). A first for this year are Thundershirts; tight fitting jumpers which put pressure onto acupressure points to calm your pets.
Your attitude and behaviour can make a big difference to how your pet reacts to fireworks, so make sure you know how to behave as well.
Do not shout at your pet for being scared, or reassure them either as both these reactions just convince them that there is something to be scared of. Instead try to jolly them along and distract them, or if they won’t listen to you, ignore them until they are calm.
There are other things you can do to help your dog at home, in addition to the medications.
• Walk them early, so that they are not outside in the dark.
• Feed them a stodgy, substantial meal an hour before fireworks are expected.This helps to make them sleepy.
• Build them a den. Give them a place where they feel safe and
• Change your behaviour. Either distract your dog with a game or jolly them along. Reassuring is not helpful as it convinces them that there is something to be scared of.
• Shut the curtains to cut down noise and flashes.
• Play loud music to distract both of you from the fireworks.
Once the scary fireworks are over, it is vital to teach your pet that there is nothing to be scared of, using behavioural training techniques and special CDs designed for the job. These are available at the surgery or in our online shop.
It is very important for the welfare of your pet to desensitise them to fireworks, not just ignore the problem until next year.
If you’re not sure if your pet is scared of fireworks, consider the following: scared pets tend to hide away. Most cats will find somewhere to hide and then disappear for the night, so many owners do not even realise that their cat is terrified of fireworks, because they rarely see the cat when there are fireworks about.
Dogs often show a range of signs, including:
• hiding away, especially under/behind furniture
• cowering and looking to you for reassurance
• whinging or whining
• scratching at doors
• not wanting to go outside in the dark
• running away
• having toileting
If your pet is showing any of these signs, please contact the surgery for help.
If your pet has always tolerated or ignored fireworks and suddenly starts to behave unpredictably, then you should make an appointment with the surgery and have them examined. Changes in sensitivity to noise can be a sign of a more serious disease.