How can I protect my pet?
Fireworks and thunderstorms have always been a cause for concern to pets and their owners. Pets don’t understand that the loud noises they are hearing are not going to hurt them and they will often go to extreme lengths to escape from what is scaring them.
It is important to be aware of the risks to pets:
SYMPTOMS–these can occur before and during the event. Some noises are predictable, some have visual, tactile and smell components as well.
• Hiding in small enclosed spaces
• Intense barking and/or howling
• Sweaty paws
• Destructive behaviour at exit points
• Attempt to escape house (breaking windows)
If you see some or all of these during thunderstorms, loud noises or fireworks make an action plan now. BE PROACTIVE.
• Predict and prepare
– Try to be home
– Remove dog from garden
– Place in soundproof den
– Use white noise
Seek medical advice regarding:
– Using medication where needed
– Using ADAPTIL
– Using Homeopathic remedies
• Behavioural strategies
– Calm, comfort and distract
– Use a Thundershirt
– Teach the dog to tolerate noise
• Keep identification on your pet
PREDICT AND PREPARE
• Planning for your pet’s safety in the event of a thunderstorm or fireworks is essential. We may not always know when a thunderstorm may occur but if storms are forecast it is better to be prepared. Generally, we know when major fireworks displays are going to happen, such as New Year, Chinese New Year and the Royal Adelaide Show.
• Make sure all fences and gates are secure and in good condition as if there is an unexpected storm your dog may scale abnormal heights or breakthrough seemingly solid objects when terrified.
• Make sure your dog has a safe den to go to when frightened. Preferably leave your pet inside in the laundry, bathroom or similar with their familiar bed and the radio on especially if owners are away from the home. Cover windows and keep away from large windows or glassed areas; otherwise, they could go through the window causing serious bodily damage. If left outside provide a soundproof kennel with blankets to hide in or an enclosed verandah.
• Medication may be useful in extreme cases–check with your vet if anti-anxiety medication or homeopathic remedies would be suitable for your pet. Some dogs will need anti-anxiety medication. This can be given when a storm or fireworks is forecast so that you dog will be comfortable during the event. Do not use human medication unless approved by your vet.
• Use ADAPTIL pheromone–this helps support your dog and reduces stress or homeopathic remedies like Storm Stress or Rescue Remedy.
• Conditioning a pet to loud noises is a key way to reduce the fear they may experience. There are conditioning CD’s and Apps available which can be used to assimilate the pet with a variety of noises. Conditioning takes time and commitment but is one of the best ways to help your pet cope.
• If you’re away from home, leave your pet with a friend or family member who will be at home or ask a friend or family member to check on your pet. If fireworks are local to your area, maybe your pet can have a sleepover at someone else’s place or in a boarding facility.
• Comfort your pet during a period of anxiety, it is ok! You can show them that there is nothing to be scared of and carry on as normal but giving your pet slow massage and pats or playing a game with them, giving them a chew toy or bone may be enough to distract them. Try to change the animal’s perception; Thunderstorm = fun training, games or yummy food rather than thunderstorm = tension and fear.
• Identification is essential. Make sure your pet has an ID disc with its name and your current telephone number–remember if someone else is looking after your pet while you are away, get a new disc with their phone number. Dogs are required to wear a valid council registration tag once they are 3 months of age. Have a current photo of your dog to help others identify him if lost.
• Microchipping is very important. All Local Councils, vets and major shelters have microchip scanners and all pets that come into the Animal Welfare League are scanned. Please remember to keep your contact details up to date.
ACT FAST IF YOUR PET IS LOST
• Report your pet missing straight away–DO NOT DELAY! Leave a description and photo with your Local Councils and vets, major shelters like AWL and RSPCA as well as ‘Lost Dogs of Adelaide’ and ‘Lost Pets of South Australia’ on Facebook.
• Leave a lost report for the Animal Welfare League by phone (08) 8348 1300 or by clicking the button below.