Firework fear for furry friends
7:45am 5th November 2014
Firework phobia could be a thing of the past for pets. The RSPCA is issuing advice for pet owners in the run up to another busy bonfire night season.
The charity regularly receives hundreds of calls about fireworks in October and November, when bonfire night and Diwali celebrations are in full swing.
In 2013 the RSPCA received 310 calls relating to fireworks in October and November and in 2012 this figure was 326.
With the first flurry of fireworks set to be this weekend it is a stressful time of year for all pets and their owners - an estimated 45 per cent of dogs in the UK showing signs of fear when they hear fireworks*.
Some great ideas to help your pet feel safe include:
-Using a Sounds Scary! CD to help dogs learn to be less afraid of loud noises.
-Use pheromone diffusers that can help dogs and cats feel calmer.
-Provide constant access to safe hiding places.
-Close windows and curtains and turn on the radio or TV to help mask the sounds from outside and ensure your pets are better able to cope.
-Don't show anger towards your dog or cat if they appear frightened - this will only convince the animals that there really is something to be afraid of.
-If your pets live outside partly cover the cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed. Make sure your pet is still able to look out and provide extra bedding for small animals so they have something to burrow in.
-Always speak to your vet or animal behaviourist for further advice
RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer James Yeates said: "Countless pet owners will be dreading the run up to bonfire night because of the distress it causes to their animals.
"But there are ways to help your pets get over any fear they may have. Planning ahead and speaking to your local vet about the options available is a great start.
"Firework phobia is a treatable condition, pets do not have to suffer in misery every year."
Of course the RSPCA would also ask organisers to be vigilant and give plenty of notice to people in the area. We would also ask for organisers to show some consideration and not let off any fireworks too close to places where animals are - for example farm animals or zoos.
Wildlife can also be burned to death by bonfires so organisers should check them before lighting to make sure there are no wild animals using them as a hiding place. It helps to build the bonfire as near as possible to the time of lighting, to ensure hedgehogs and other wildlife are not sleeping in the pile when it is lit.
For more information please visit www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks
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