Scary sights and sounds

Published on: 02 Oct 2017

Autumn is everyone’s favourite time of the year; nothing beats a warm drink and a toasty warm house and putting your feet up in front of the fire. From the spooky Halloween costumes, ‘Trick or Treaters’, to the loud bangs, sharp whizzes and bright lights filling our sky with colour on bonfire night, do we ever think of how our pets are feeling during this time of year?  With the knocking on the door, the bangs, the flashing lights in the sky it’s extremely important to prepare our pets for the scary sights and sounds. We find it entertaining but our furry friends can find it terrifying!

Halloween is soon approaching, just like Bonfire Night, this event can also be terrifying for our pets. As we know, Halloween has become more popular in the UK over the years and many people celebrate it by having parties and  children go out trick or treating in spooky costumes. Our pets may dread the constant knocking on the door and the loud sounds outside.     

As you likely know, chocolate is highly toxic to our pets, so ensure any chocolate or sweets are kept safely hidden away. If your pet does ingest any, ensure you contact your veterinary surgeon ASAP, especially if you notice any signs such as: vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, tremors, seizures or collapsing episodes. If you have an indoor cat, make sure you lock them in a secure room when you are opening the door to unexpected callers to avoid any escape attempts.

Often a fear response to these loud noises can worsen over time to become a phobia; this is where the fear is persistent and harder to correct. It’s never too early or too late to start desensitising your animal to sounds by gradually introducing loud noises using a CD, which you can purchase from us, to help accustom them to the sounds of thunder, bangs, crying babies ect. Please book an appointment for a free nurse’s clinic to discuss your situation.

There are some simple things you can do to make your pet feel safer at home during Halloween and the firework season. Start the day with a long well exercised walk, helping them burn off energy. Ensure you have walked them before it gets dark to avoid any sudden bangs or flashes while you are out.  

We advise that you have an area available for your pet to hide away from the loud sounds, where they can feel safe and secure. Make your pet a den for them to hide in if they choose to. You can do this by using an old sheet or blanket covering a table, chair, crate or cardboard box. Using a familiar smell inside the den such as their own blanket, toys or some clothing, just to give them something to cuddle up to, will also help. Draw the curtains to block out any flashes, and put on some music or the TV for some background noise. For our outdoor pets, it’s ideal if possible to move hutches indoors or cover them with a blanket to muffle the noise and flashes. Make sure cats are indoors before it gets dark. Get involved; send a photo of your pet’s den to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AvenueVeterinaryCentre

Signs that your animal is frightened can vary from hiding away or seeking close owner contact, panting and pacing, chewing, drooling, nose licking, over- grooming, toileting in the house or trying to escape. If your pet is showing any signs of fear or anxiety, there are medications and natural therapies that can help with relaxation. If your pet has developed a phobia, prescription medication might be necessary, which can only be prescribed through a veterinary surgeon. We advise to start any medication around a week prior to any event to get the full effect. Be prepared in advance and book an appointment with a vet or pop in for advice on the different calming products.

Please remember to check any leaves, twigs or wood before lighting your bonfire, as our spikey friends enjoy nesting in them.

Have a safe & happy autumn.

Lucy Rowe SVN

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