New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration and anticipation.
Almost all pets are terrified by the sound of fireworks and this can be a very stressful time for dogs and cats alike.
So when making your resolutions this year, resolve not to start the new year looking for your lost pet as this will only add to the stress for all.
The unexpected and very loud noise of fireworks can frighten dogs, cats and even smaller pets.
Fearful reactions range from mild anxiety of pacing and panting to pure panic of breaking out of it’s home, habitat, or backyard.
Some pets will stop at nothing to escape in their terror, and can hurt themselves in the process.
Every year pets escape, and some are injured or lost. At peak firework times – New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Canada Day (to name a few)- you can help your pet to stay calm and stay home.
KEEP THEM SAFE
Secure anxious pets, ideally inside with you. If you won’t be home, confine your pet to a small room, enclosed area or travel crate with music or television playing.(And remember to lock your pet door.)
Now is the time to confirm that your pet’s identification is accurate. A collar with a tag allows your pet to be quickly identified. A microchip is another very effective form of ID. Remember to update your microchip registration if you’ve moved or changed phone number.
WILL MY PET BE SCARED?
Many pets are unconcerned by loud noises and cope well. If thunder makes your pet nervous, it may also be anxious about fireworks.
Although it is a natural reaction, avoid patting or comforting a frightened pet. This reinforces the behaviour, and will escalate the problem over time. Reward relaxed or calm behaviour instead.
Extremely fearful pets may need the help of sedatives during peak periods. For long-term relief, your pet may be trained to become less reactive to fireworks or thunder using a desensitisation CD designed by veterinary behaviour specialists. Your veterinarian can advise you on these options.
Losing a pet is every owner’s fear. If your pet does go missing, use these strategies to increase the chances of a reunion.
Walk, rather than drive, around your neighbourhood. A frightened pet often hides and may respond to your calls.
Call your local veterinary clinics, pounds and shelters to report your lost pet. Be prepared to give a description of your pet and your contact details. Shelters can be full and busy, so visit as well as calling. Even if your first inquiry is unsuccessful, don’t give up hope and continue to check weekly.
Ask local businesses to display “Lost” posters with a detailed description of your pet together with a clear photograph. A letterbox drop or local paper advertisements are other ways to target your district.
With a little preparation, you and your pet can look forward to a happy 2011 together.
Enjoy the festive events and see you next year.