Lincolnshire vets warn pet owners of fireworks trauma

Julie Brewer with her dog Twiggy and fireworks.
Julie Brewer with her dog Twiggy and fireworks.

A Lincolnshire veterinary hospital is preparing for an upsurge in calls from worried owners whose pets are terrified of fireworks.

Every year Eastfield Veterinary Clinic sees owners whose cats and dogs are distressed by the noise of fireworks at its two branches in North Thoresby and Cleethorpes.

The bangs and flashes start in the run up to Bonfire Night and often continue for several weeks, before resuming during New Year’s Eve celebrations, causing misery for many owners and their pets.

Now, Eastfield Vets is urging owners to prepare early before fireworks season gets underway to keep their pets calm and has issued advice for owners whose cats and dogs suffer noise phobia.

Eastfield veterinary nurse Julie Brewer, who has a Diploma in Animal Behaviour and Training, urged clients to contact the practice for advice on ways to keep their panicking pets safe and calm.

The surgery also advises that cats and dogs are kept safely indoors during fireworks season to prevent injury and stress, windows and doors should be kept shut to prevent them bolting through fear, while pets should wear collars and tags and microchips should be up to date in case they run away.

Julie, a Registered Veterinary Nurse for 28 years, has run behaviour clinics at Eastfield Vets for 15 years.

She said: “With the fireworks season stretching over several weeks, this can be a difficult time for both dogs and owners. Many panicking dogs escape from their owners or the garden.

“Dogs should not be left alone during this time and even pets that have previously shown no fear can become sensitive.

“Keeping calm and offering your dog or cat a calm, comfortable environment is advisable. Speak in a calm, gentle voice if they are afraid and don’t get angry or tell them off.

“Providing a safe place where they can relax like a den if a good idea and there are also lots of homeopathic remedies and over-the-counter therapies that can be used to keep them calm.

“Puppies and even older dogs can be desensitised to fireworks through CDs that play the sound of fireworks if they are carefully exposed to low levels of fireworks noise over several weeks, before increasing the intensity.”

Julie has issued valuable tips to pet owners to keep their pets safe and calm in fireworks season:

• 1. Keep them safe.

• 2. Make them feel safe

• 3. Help them to relax

• 4. Seek veterinary advice

• 5. Use a sound desensitisation CD to train for the future

• 6. Seek behaviour advice for the future