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Fireworks used to be confined to bonfire night and hogmanay but now these two events seem to have merged so that we can no longer predict when the next set of “bangs” are going to occur.

Many pets become extremely anxious and distressed and we are frequently asked for advice on how to minimise the stress for both pet and owner.

The best way forward is to plan in advance and start a desensitisation programme using a CD such as one called “Sounds Scary” which comes with full instructions and tips to help your dog settle.

Leading up to a known event, an Adaptil diffuser can be very helpful. This releases a pheremone which soothes your dog and is used to aid many aspects of behavioural training. It can either be used as a diffuser in the room where your pet spends most of his time or as a collar.
fireworksAnother product which is available is Zylkene. This is a naturally occurring protein which has been isolated and shown to act on various neuroreceptors which aids your pet in managing its stress. There are no know side effects. Zylkene must be given a minimum of 2 days prior to the expected stress event.

For those animals severely affected, we may also prescribe medication to reduce the level of anxiety that your pet is feeling.   One of these is an oral gel called Sileo which can be applied to your dog’s gums, causing a calming effect.  It can be topped up as necessary.

We do not recommend using sedatives as they do not reduce anxiety and only serve to limit your dogs ability to express his fear.

Other general tips include closing the curtains and playing some background music to help mask the sound of the fireworks. Making a den for the dog to feel safe eg under the table can also help. The hardest part is to try and not make a fuss if your dog is fretting as this will only reinforce his behaviour. It is best to reward him with attention once he is starting to relax again.

If you have any queries on any of the above then please contact the practice for more advice.