Pets and Fireworks | Top Tips To Help Pets Scared of Fireworks

Pets and Fireworks – Why Noise Annoys, and How Fears Can Turn Into Life-Limiting Phobias

Around 60% of our furry friends become agitated and afraid whilst fireworks are going off, so aside from being unpleasant for both them and your family, it’s little surprise that statistically more pets are reported missing on bonfire night than any other night during the year.

If the fear isn’t dealt with, it can quickly turn into a phobia. This is a lot more severe than anxiety and is defined as a persistent, excessive, and irrational fear response. It WILL NOT go away without help. Your dog isn’t going to grow out of it or get used to it and minor anxiety can quickly turn into a fear of thunder, then fear of sudden noise like people calling out in the street, or doors closing, and severely restrict their enjoyment of life – and yours. Scared dogs make difficult companions.

If you feel your pet would benefit from extra help, remember that Castle Club members benefit from unlimited behaviour and training advice, which includes help with anxious pets, training and anything else you may need. (Not a member yet? Click here to read the full list of year-round benefits)

No one knows why pets develop fears and phobias, but it is known that dogs who have separation anxiety often also develop a fear of noise, so if you have a nervous puppy be extra vigilant for the early signs of noise fear.

The signs are different in all animals but can often include:

  • Hiding (cats like to do this more than dogs)
  • Urinating and defecating around the house in otherwise house-trained animals
  • Chewing
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Trying to escape (digging, trying to get out through windows, running away)
  • Dribbling
  • Over-dependence on the owner
  • Loss of appetite
  • Ignoring commands
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Uncharacteristic barking or meowing

Although it sounds wrong, it is important to try NOT to comfort nervous pets whilst they’re showing signs of fear or anxiety as it both rewards a fearful response and reinforces their belief that there is something to be fearful of.  Animals will also pick up on your anxiety which can make the problem worse, so try to remain calm and relaxed and carry on as if nothing is happening. Never punish your pet for fearful behaviour either, as they will associate the fear they feel with punishment and it will justify their fear to them.

 

Keep this information handy

If you have a potentially anxious pet – although it is generally a sensible list to keep handy – you should have the following information readily available to you during firework season. Storing it on your phone is a good way to do this.

You should note down:

  • Your pet’s microchip number/microchip database (microchips are now a legal requirement in dogs)
  • Local dog warden’s number
  • Local police contact
  • A clear photograph of your pet
  • Access to missing pet websites

Be aware that fireworks night is not just a night! As the date falls on a weekday this year, events will take place on the weekends either side and fireworks are sold well in advance of November 5th until after News Year’s Eve. If your pet is sensitive to them you need to ACT NOW to save them several months of distress.

What can I do?!

Download our FREE guide!

You can download our handy guide on Firework Fears and Phobias where we detail what you can do to help your cats, dogs, rabbits and other small animals during the weeks before and the day of the event. It’s packed with good ideas and will help get your pet through this potentially stressful time.

If you think your pet suffers from more than just minor anxiety or would like to discuss any behavioural issues, book an appointment to come and chat to us about it. We can offer behavioural consultations, supplements and plug-ins to help calm them, and in really bad situations we can prescribe sedatives.

Don’t let your pet suffer unnecessary anxiety.

 

To find out more and book an appointment, call the practice on  01698 361 136

 

Remember…

Castle Club members benefit from unlimited behaviour and training advice, which includes help with anxious pets, training and anything else you may need. (Not a member yet? Click here to read the full list of year-round benefits)

Pet Obesity | The Growing Issue of Overweight Pets

The weighty issue of the portly pet

Overweight pets – a growing trend

Our pets are mirroring the human obesity growth curve, and very overweight cats and dogs are becoming common. As in humans, being overweight can cause many health issues for our pets. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis, joint and mobility problems
  • Increased frequency of joint injuries
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin and coat problems
  • Urinary disease
  • Heart disease
  • Shorter lifespan than fitter pets
  • Tendency to interact less with their families.

The term obesity is used to describe a condition that is more serious than just being overweight. When a dog or cat is classed as obese, it means that their fat has now reached the stage where their bodies struggle to maintain good health.

 

In 2018, results of an online survey* suggested that around 59% of dogs and 53% of cats throughout the world are obese. In fact, this rapidly increasing problem is now so significant that the World Small Animal Veterinary Association have officially classed canine obesity as a disease.

But it’s not always obvious to us…

This survey also showed that only 24% of owners thought their pet was overweight. This suggests pet owners not realising that their pet is obese has also become a big part of the problem. When you see your pet every day, and pets around you are slowly getting bigger too, a larger size becomes normal.

 

Why is obesity becoming more common?

The science behind overweight pets is usually as simple as it is in humans – more often than not a pet is obese because they’re eating more calories than they’re burning off.  There are occasions where genetics or other health factors play a part, and some breeds are more likely to gain fat than others. There might also be some medical reasons that are contributing, for example, undiagnosed joint pain restricting their movement, or an underactive thyroid slowing down their metabolism.

Before starting your pet on a diet or increased exercise schedule, you should book a FREE weight clinic check-up with one of us to make sure there aren’t any underlying medical issues.

Don’t forget that if you’re a member of The Castle Club you'll already have a full health check with a vet every year, and one six months later with a nurse. Plus, you can arrange for a weight check or weight clinic FREE OF CHARGE whenever you feel you need it.

Not already a member?
The Growing Trend of Overweight Pets
How do I know if my pet is overweight?

There are some visual checks you can do at home that will give you an idea of their condition:

  • You should be able to see their ribs under their coat, or if they have a thick coat, you should be able to feel them.
  • A clearly defined waist should be visible from the side and from above
  • When you look at them from the side, you shouldn’t be able to see a rounded or saggy belly
 
I think my pet is overweight. What should I do?

More pets are being fed complete diets in the form of biscuits, and this has resulted in well-nourished animals, as the nutritional quality of the food makes sure they get all they need. The downside of biscuits is that it’s easy for us to fill their bowl each day as that seems like the right amount to give them, and it’s often way too much.

To ensure they aren’t consuming more calories than they need, check the pet food packaging. Many pet foods come with a cup with a portion size printed on the side. If not, weigh the food using kitchen scales until you get an idea about how much they should have each day, then split that across their meals.

Take care with extra treats! For a small dog, one biscuit can be the additional calorie equivalent of a burger.

Below is a comparison of some common treats for pets in human terms:


Source: https://www.hillspet.co.uk/pet-care/nutrition-feeding/human-food-treat-translator

How much exercise should pets have?

Dogs need to be walked every day, although the amount of exercise they need varies depending on their breed, age, size and general health. Your dog should be either walking or running for between 30 minutes and two hours daily. Hunting and working breeds need the most exercise and plenty of time to run around and explore off the lead.

Cats will only do exactly what they want when they want. This includes active time, and they’ll control their own, although you can encourage them to want to move around by getting some irresistible-to-cats toys – lights that move around, balls to chase around tubes, feathers on sticks, and small cat toys are often enjoyed but try a few and see which ones result in a playful cat.

 

The best approach to weight management is to monitor and prevent excessive weight gain

As many of us know from personal experience, losing weight can be boring and difficult. It’s much easier to maintain weight by making tweaks to food intake and exercise when needed, and better for long-term health too.  It’s also good to have support, as denying your pet simples pleasures can be as hard for us as it is for them, even when we know we’re doing it because we love them. That’s where our weight clinics can help…

FREE weight clinics for our clients

Our pet weight clinic aims to improve the health and overall fitness of your pet. We do this by holding regular appointments with our friendly and non-judgemental nurses in which we weigh and measure your pet and discuss diet.

We will track your pet’s weight loss over time by measuring your pets neck, widest part of the chest and waist. We also weigh and body condition score to build up a full picture of their overall progress.

With your consent we also take pictures before, during and after weight loss as it’s not always easy to see the progress when you see them every day.

If you think this service would be useful for you or you’d just like to check that your pet is the right weight, call to make a free appointment on Dorchester (Poundbury) 01305 267083 or Weymouth 01305 81330

Don’t forget that if you’re a member of The Castle Club you'll already have a full health check with a vet every year, and one six months later with a nurse. Plus, you can arrange for a weight check or weight clinic FREE OF CHARGE whenever you feel you need it.

Not already a member?

*The survey was conducted online during January and February 2018.  The total sample size was 5,309 cat and dog owners who were responsible for their pet’s health and well-being (Brazil 1,068; China 1,036; Russian 1,111; United Kingdom 1,023 and United States 1,071).

Health Benefits of Veterinary Acupuncture for Pets

Did you know that pets, as well as people, can respond really well to acupuncture?

We’re delighted to now be able to offer this ancient Chinese therapy as a holistic supplement to traditional veterinary care. Veterinary acupuncture can be particularly useful when dealing with mobility issues, chronic pain conditions such as joint pain, and gastrointestinal issues. It’s an ideal treatment for older, geriatric pets who can find the therapy quiet calming, although it’s a useful complementary treatment for all life-stages.

Veterinary acupuncture is thought to work in a few different ways:
  • It can stimulate the release of the pain relieving and anti-inflammatory chemicals as well as relax muscles at the site of the needle insertion, causing both local and more generalised pain relief
  • Veterinary acupuncture can improve blood flow to tissue, increase oxygenation and remove metabolic waste and toxins
  • Unlike prescription drugs, there are no potential adverse side effects. It can also safely be used in conjunction with traditional vet medicine

Vet Alice Moore, who joined us in April, has been treating patients with acupuncture for a number of years.

“I find veterinary acupuncture to be useful in treating a whole range of conditions” says Alice. “Owners are often surprised that cats, dogs and rabbits all tolerate acupuncture really well and I have used it to treat back pain, arthritis, bladder problems and all sorts of lameness issues”

Alice Moore

Veterinary Surgeon

Here are some photos of Raz and Monty who are both being treated at our Dorchester clinic.

If you think your pet might benefit from veterinary acupuncture or are just interested to learn more, contact us on 01305 267083 or using Petsapp