Does your pet dive under the bed whenever fireworks start up? It’s important to be prepared!
This may seem like cute and endearing behaviour, but it's a sign that your dog, cat, rabbit or other pet is terrified of fireworks. Some people are willing to simply put up with symptoms of storm phobias like hiding, trembling, whining, drooling and pacing. In more severe cases however, panicking animals have been known to chew furniture, tear curtains, break windows or lose control of their bowels. In any case, this behaviour is a sign of a terrified, unhappy pet.
What To Do?
The best treatment for phobias is gradual behaviour modification, gently helping them adjust to loud scary noises. Most importantly though, is that you treat your pet gently and kindly when they are afraid. Don't cuddle and reassure them, because that will reward their panicked behaviour and definitely don't punish them for it either. Instead, be calm and provide them with a safe, familiar place where they feel secure and can ride out the storm.
While changing behaviour is the best treatment, short-term medication can be useful when we know there is a scary event such as fireworks starting up soon.
You can also make sure your pet has a warm, safe "den" to retreat to when the weather turns nasty. You can clear a space underneath your bed, as long as it’s somewhere your pet can get out of whenever they want.
In some cases we can prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help your pet remain calm during fireworks.
A panicked pet can do a lot of damage to your house and themselves if confined. We have seen great results with anti-anxiety pheromones that come as a plug in diffuser or as a collar.
If your pet is likely to need some help getting through the fireworks season, get in touch with us early. Avoid having a terrified pet and stressed out family over Christmas and the New Year.