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Pymble Vet Top Ten Tips to Tackle Your Pet’s Fear of Thunderstorms & Fireworks

By David Loneragan | Dated March 1, 2014

shutterstock_116047882Noise phobia is a common cause of anxiety in our pets. Dogs have extremely sensitive ears and can hear things that us humans can’t. This makes them far more receptive to unpredictable sounds such as storms and fireworks and can cause a lot of distress for your pet.

Follow these TOP 10 tips to help your pet cope with fireworks and thunderstorm fears:

1)      Ensure your pet is safely inside and secure doors, windows and cat flaps.

2)      Allow your dog or cat to hide in a place where they feel safe.  You can further increase this feeling of security by plugging in an Adaptil or Feliway diffuser (available to purchase at Gordon Vet). These diffusers contain synthetic pheromones that pets associate with feeling secure and happy and have been scientifically proven to help settle them in times of distress.

Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural appeasing pheromone that puppies are exposed to after birth when feeding from their mother.  When used on any age dog it mimics the properties of this natural reassuring signal, thus reducing anxiety and preventing fear and stress related behaviours.

Feliway is a synthetic copy of the natural feline facial pheromone used by cats use to mark their environment as safe and familiar.  When used in the home it signals to cats that they are in a secure environment.

3)      Speak to your local Pymble vet about spraying these calming pheromones onto a bandana tied around your dog’s neck or on their bedding to give them additional support.

4)      Make sure your dog or cat is microchipped.  If they do escape, frightened animals can easily get lost. It is vital that the council has your up-to-date contact details so that owners can be promptly contacted.

5)      In the few days before fireworks, ensure dogs are taken for a walk earlier in the evening and cats have litter trays.

6)      Close all doors, windows and draw the curtains, play some music and / or have the tv on to help mask the noise of fireworks.

7)      Comfort your pet in a reasonable manner.  Promote calm behaviour by displaying calm behaviour yourself.  Cats prefer to be left to cope on their own. Feeding pets their favourite irresistible treat can be a great way to distract them from being anxious.

8)      Don’t get cross with or punish your pet, regardless of their behaviour, as it will only make them more distressed.

9)      Try not to leave your pet alone when fireworks are going off.  Pets may hurt themselves or cause damage trying to escape when not supervised.

10)  Speak to your Pymble vet about both long term and short term treatment for anxiety and noise phobia. Your vet may also wish to refer you to a qualified veterinary behaviourist.

For a behavior assessment and consultation, contact one of your experienced Pymble vets at Gordon Vet Hospital on (02) 9498 3000 to make an appointment.

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Written by David Loneragan

David grew up and still lives locally and has worked at Gordon Vet since 1985. His love of animals and interest in all things veterinary started when he was a young boy spending time with his own pets and working on a country farm. David’s post-graduate studies have been in the fields of medical problems of dogs and cats and diagnostic ultrasound and radiology. In addition, he is interested in dermatology, cardiology and ophthalmology.

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05:00 05 Nov 18
Highly recommend Dr David, Scott, Helen, and Catherine, I've taken my cat to see all the doctors here.
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Jeremy Tarbox
Jeremy Tarbox
22:55 10 Sep 18
We found a stray, agitated dog in front of our house last night. We phoned but got no help from the Council ranger who gave two options: tie him up in front yard overnight or "let him loose, he'll find his own way home" :( So we phoned Gordon Vet: they stayed open a few minutes so we could run him up and he could have a bed and dinner. Thank you Gordon Vet Hospital, hope he gets home soon!!! :)
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