Albany Blog

Remember, remember these tips for November

By October 5, 2022No Comments

Autumn brings darker mornings and evenings and a chill in the air. Many dogs and cats can sense the time of year as the weather begins to change and they may begin to anticipate fireworks season.

Dogs

For puppies, it is important to start desensitising your puppy from an early age so that they remain relaxed in different situations as an adult. The optimum socialisation period is 3-16 weeks of age and puppies who are introduced to many different experiences during this time are often able to cope more effectively as they age.

There are several sound-based treatment programmes available to download from the Dogs Trust website. These do not just focus on fireworks, but also help to familiarise your dog with other sounds, including traffic noises, the sound of children and other domestic noises.

Older dogs may find fireworks more challenging than they have before as they can start to find changes to routine difficult. Then there are the dogs who start to develop hearing loss as they age – they can find fireworks easier to cope with!

Did you know that dogs can hear sounds 4 times further away than humans? This means sounds, such as fireworks, you hear in the distance are much louder and scarier for dogs.

It is important to be able to recognise the signs of anxiety in your dog:

trembling and shaking

licking of lips

panting

chewing objects

seeking reassurance

cowering and hiding

unable to settle

trying to dig

barking excessively

urinating or defecating

 

Helping your dog to cope:

Walk your dog during the day so they are tired by the evening and comfy at home in their safe space when darkness falls.

Prepare a den for your dog – do this in advance to allow time for them to get used to it. Make it as comfortable, dark and quiet as possible, away from windows in an easily accessible internal room. Use towels and/or blankets to cover the area to dim the sounds and lights of fireworks. Ensure your dog has access to the den at all times.

Close all curtains, windows and doors. Turn on the radio or TV loud enough to mask unwanted noise.

Use chews, toys, puzzle feeders or a game as a distraction.

Having their meal before fireworks start can also help, as your dog may not want to eat during the event if they are too anxious.

Anxious dogs can pant more, ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times.

Pheromone support products may help; they replicate the pheromones that cats and dogs naturally produce and send out calming messages to reassure your pets.

Dogs with a more severe reaction may need medication, or help from an accredited behaviourist, to help them cope. If you are concerned, ask your vet for advice.

Try to stay calm, your pet will be able to feel your anxiety and this will make them think there is something to worry about. Your presence should provide reassuring comfort to your dog.

 

Cats

Cats are not thought to develop sound sensitivities as dogs do, however they may be frightened by the loud bangs and flashes of fireworks . It is therefore advisable to keep your cat indoors during fireworks season. This change in routine can sometimes cause cats to become upset.

Signs of anxiety to look out for:

hiding away

less interaction with you

vertical scratch marking

inappropriate urination

over or under eating

excessive grooming

any change in your cat’s normal behaviour

 

 

You can help by

providing enough litter trays throughout the house.

ensuring all the cats in your household have access to safe places to hide in. Don’t try to coax your cat out of this space, this is where they feel most secure. Sometimes cats like to get high up to feel safer, providing igloo beds or safely positioned elevated cardboard boxes can help.

providing pheromone support in the form of sprays or diffusers. These can help by replicating the pheromones that cats naturally produce. They provide calming messages helping your cat to feel comfortable and secure at home.