Protecting our pets' welfare and wellbeing over Guy Fawkes
Wednesday, 5 October 2016
We live in an environment that we share with animals too. The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) urges you all to also remember the wellbeing of our four-legged friends during the Guy Fawkes fireworks.
Veterinarians are encouraging pet owners to seek advice well before 5 November to reduce the physical and psychological harm that fireworks may cause in pets. Firework displays can be a difficult time for many pets and veterinarians are able to improve their wellbeing with advice and treatments to reduce anxiety.
“It is not uncommon for pets to suffer from extreme anxiety and develop phobias in relation to fireworks, and managing anxiety appropriately at this time will reduce the chance of a fireworks phobia developing,” says Dr Helen Beattie, President of the Companion Animal Veterinarians branch of the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA).
“There is often an increase in missing pets following the Guy Fawkes displays, and we encourage all pet owners to ensure their animals have a secure, safe, and an indoor space for the night. Microchipping will ensure that in case they do escape and get lost, they are found and quickly returned home.”
Dr Beattie says that pet owners can help to prepare their pets in the weeks leading up to and following Guy Fawkes (Saturday 5 November).
“Talk to your veterinarian about sedatives that can be prescribed to reduce anxiety over this period and find out if starting a calming pheromone diffuser a few weeks before fireworks begin will be suitable for your pet.”
“Walk dogs during the daylight, then bring all of your animals inside before fireworks are let off,” says Dr Beattie. “Use familiar sounds – such as the TV or radio – to further drown out the sound of fireworks.”
She recommends that owners remain calm and provide quiet reassurance to their pets, avoid excessive treating or making too much of a fuss as this may inadvertently reinforce the pet’s anxiety.
The NZVA’s top tips to protect animals during Guy Fawkes
Contact your veterinarian to prepare methods and medications that will manage fireworks induced anxiety before Guy Fawkes night.
Keep pets indoors, preferably with curtains drawn and windows closed to drown out light and reduce noise. Turn on the radio or television to create a familiar sound which can be comforting.
Provide safe coverings for your pet to hide under if they wish
Take your pet to an alternative location where they will be more comfortable for the night if necessary.
Remain calm and confident yourself and avoid excessive fussing over nervous animals.