Advice Column, Parenting

Tips for keeping your pets safe during fireworks season

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We’re officially in the fourth and final quarter of 2020.  With that comes celebratory occasions, often along with fireworks season with many South Africans celebrating Guys Fawkes on Thursday November 5, and others observing Diwali on Wednesday, November 14, 2020.  Pet parents needn’t fear the festivities this year as Canine and Co has you covered with these handy tips on how to keep your furry companion safe during this time.

There are more natural alternatives to hardcore medication

Some pets are more sensitive to noise than others.  Thanks to modern science and an increase in natural alternatives, your precious fur baby needn’t go through a stressful fireworks season without help. Pet industry specialist Amber Jordan recommends planning ahead.  “It is important to note that with the  more natural options, they do not all work with immediate effect and pet parents should be administering these calming ingredients or using these tools for a few weeks before anticipated high stress scenarios for them to be fully effective,” she says. 

Jordan has compiled a handy list of tools and products that pet owners can consider and ask their local pet store or online retailer about:

  • NurtureCalm offers effective calming collars for both cats and dogs. These should ideally have been worn for at least a couple weeks prior to the anticipated stressful situation.
  • The Adaptil Range caters specifically to dogs and comes in collars and home diffuser options.
  • Feline parents will love the Feliway Range which is available in spray and home diffuser forms. 
  • Zylkene contains casein, a protein naturally found in mother’s milk. It is well known to promote relaxation and is 100% natural.
  • The Medico Herbs Calmer Spray is a homeopathic solution that is 100% safe for both canine and feline children.
  • Like swaddling an infant, ThunderShirt applies a gentle, constant pressure to your dog or cat’s torso. Research on both humans and animals suggests that this type of pressure can release a calming hormone like oxytocin or endorphins (there is a reason we love hugs!). This calming pressure is helpful for over 80% of pets.
  • Consider purchasing a Company of Animals Noise CD which is a proven technique for the treatment and prevention of sound phobias.
  • And last but not least, Calmeze is a firm favourite with pet parents, and not only assists with all kinds of stressful situations, but is a nutritional aid too. It’s perfect for long term or short-term use. We’re helping you get ready to support your fur-kids during this busy, and often stressful time of the year, by offering 20% off Calmeze at Canine&Co for the month of October.

Other handy tips to promote calmness in your fur child

  • Exercise your dog early in the day and ensure they are kept inside in a safe place where they cannot escape if frightened by sudden loud noises.
  • Keep the windows closed and curtains drawn, and turn on a radio or television to help mask the sound of fireworks.
  • If they have to be let out into the garden after dark, it is best to place them on a lead and keep the outing brief.  You may need to consider providing a litter tray so that your cat has a choice about whether they go out or not.
  • Ensure there is a safe place for your pet to hide as this is a natural survival instinct. Ideally this would need to be a place where the noise is minimised but, your pet may already have a favourite hiding place that you should make available and comfortable for this time. If not, create a den with a box, in a cupboard, or under a table or chair and use blankets and bedding to protect this area from the noise as much as possible. Set this up in advance of the fireworks. Never try to lure your pet out if they retreat to this place during the fireworks, wait until they are ready.
  • Some pets feel more secure if they can sit with you. This is fine and won’t cause the fear to worsen. Stay calm and offer your companionship support. Be ready to offer a toy or treat if they relax enough to engage in this way.
  • Try not to react to the fireworks yourself. If they frighten you, your pet will feel more alarmed. Try to act normally, and where possible, engage your pet in a favourite game or reward them with treats just as the noises begin.
  • Remember that wherever your pets are in the home, they will need access to fresh water. Anxious dogs often pant more and therefore, may be thirstier than normal. Do not try to make your pet drink if they are fearful, just ensure access to water is possible.
  • Ensure that your pet is microchipped and the chipping company has a current address or phone number on their system.  Also ensure they are wearing a collar with an ID tag, just in case they do accidentally escape, it will help to ensure you and your pet are reunited as quickly as possible.
  • If your pet struggles to cope this year, do not leave it and hope that next year is better. Seek advice from an experienced professional as behaviour programmes can help your pet to reduce their sensitivity to noises and prevent the fear from escalating into something much more severe.

We hope the caring team at Canine & Co have equipped you to confidently face fireworks season this year.

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