Canine First Aid Level 2 (VTQ)

52 videos, 2 hours and 50 minutes

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Fireworks and Thunderstorms

Video 51 of 52
4 min 33 sec
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If you have a pet with noise phobia, such as a phobia to fireworks or thunderstorms or to motorbikes noise, it can be really distressing to watch them. It's important to try and get control or a management system for these phobias quite early on because if they are left unmanaged, they tend to get worse and worse and worse each time they happen. And then it becomes very difficult to manage them and even more difficult to desensitize your pet to stop having these phobias. It's worth having a chat to behaviourists or to a vet about what you can do and there isn't one thing alone that's going to fix the problem. There are a few things together that can really help your pet manage their noise phobias.

Firstly, I would suggest looking at and at an anti-anxiety supplement, which there are many out there. Discuss with your vet or behaviourist which may be the best one for your pet. They come in different forms. There may be a diffuser that you can plug in at home that will produce, release an anti-anxiety pheromone. This is great for if you're in your house, say for fireworks. However, if you're out on a walk and a thunderstorm starts, it's not much use to your pet then. In those cases, especially for dogs, you can get collars that will release the same pheromones and so wherever you are, they are getting the benefit of the anti-anxiety pheromone.

The other things you can think about doing at home would be to create a safe place for your pet. It's really important to get these safe places a few weeks in advance of when you expect things to happen. So for fireworks, we know come the beginning of October, we need to start preparing the den ready for the end of October, beginning of November, when the fireworks start. When I say a den, it doesn't have to be something that you build. If you find that your pet naturally tries to hide in a certain area when the fireworks or the thunder starts, just try and make that place into a safer, more comfortable, more cosy place for your pet. It might be that it tries to hide underneath the table, in which case, start to put some toys under the table. Maybe put a blanket over the table to make it even darker for them, and give them access to the safe place at all times so they know it's available to them, and when things do happen that panic them or make them anxious, they know where they can run and they are not having to bark or trying to get through a door to get to it.

With fireworks, because they happen when it's dark, it's important to try and block out and create some distractions for your pet. So leave the lights on, leave a radio on, leave the television on, and maybe put them slightly louder then you would normally have them. Close all the curtains to try and block out any extra light. Close any doors that would lead on to a room like a conservatory where it's going to be very light and let in some of those flashes and sudden lights that make them so frightened. There are also things called thunder-shirts and these are very popular and work very well with some dogs, what they do is to try and create a security blanket or secure feeling around their bodies and this just helps them feel like they are in a safe or secure place and can sometimes reduce their anxiety.

Finally, there are medications that you can get from your vet that can help with these problems. Traditionally or historically, we used to use sedatives. We now realize that sedatives are not the way forward for these noise phobias. All they are doing is sedating your dog, however, or your cat. However, they are still experiencing that phobia and that fear, they just can't actively show you that they are afraid. Nowadays, we tend to use anti-anxiety medications that just relax your pet, and some of these will also block the short-term memory of your pet. These ones are quite good to try and desensitise them, because then if you can stop them remembering what's happened and they are not expecting it to happen night after night after night.