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                                      Fireworks and noise phobias                           

Many animals show fear response to fireworks. In the area we are in we also see many displaying anxiety to the noises from the army on Salisbury Plain. 

 If your animal shows anxiety to any loud noises there a number of things that can be done to reduce this.

Hopefully you will find the following information helpful but please contact the surgery if you require further help. 

Some fear responses are transient and will decrease as the animal gets used to the noise. However, a significant proportion of animals become sensitised and the fear response can escalate with repeated exposure. This can be distressing for both animals and owners. 

There is evidence that phobias can be successfully treated using behavioural modification techniques. However, this takes time, it is not a quick fix, especially if the behaviour has been present for a long time. as such the sooner you seek professional help the better. 

Things to do to help keep your animals safe on fireworks night:

Small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, ferrets and birds:

  If possible brings hutches and cages inside or into a shed or garage. Give your pet extra bedding to burrow into to help it feel safe. If you can't bring them inside cover the cage or hutch with thick blankets to help reduce the sound of bangs and block out the sight of fireworks, but be sure to make they have enough ventilation. 

Dogs and cats:

-Always keep them inside when fireworks are being set off. 

- Walk dogs early before it is dark

-Close windows and doors

-Draw curtains

-Play music, a recent study suggested reggae is the most effective at reducing anxiety in dogs. Whether this is true or the person performing the study was a Bob Marley fan we are not sure. However, many studies have shown having noise from either T.V. or music can help

-Provide a 'den' for your pet. This may be a covered puppy crate, or a cupboard under the stairs. Don't try and coax your pet out if it is hiding. It is doing this to feel safer. 

-Try to stay relaxed yourself and behave normally as possible. Pets pick up on stress in their owners and this only increases their anxiety.

-Try not to leave your pets home alone during these times. If you have to and your pet has been destructive do not tell it off as this will make them more stressed.

- For animals that get very stressed we can provide medication that helps many pets. Please call the surgery to discuss this.

-Compression suits. These are snugly fitting body suits. Research is suggesting they can reduce anxiety in dogs.

-Desensitisation therapy. We have had success treating pets with noise phobias using this technique. Please ring the surgery for help and advice.

Horses and Ponies:

-Fireworks should not be set off near livestock or horses. Anyone planning a firework display in a rural area should warn neighbouring farmers and horse owners in advance. 

 Ideally keep your horse in its familiar environment, in its normal routine with its usual companions. 

 If your horse is normally stabled keep it stabled.

 If it is usually in a field leave it there as long as fireworks aren't being set off nearby. 

If you know your horse has shown a fear response in the past please speak to us for advice and to discuss the possibility of using medication to help.

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