OWNERS should start preparing their pets for bonfire season, with Covid restrictions likely to mean more of us letting off fireworks in our gardens.
Most pets will show signs of anxiety when they hear fireworks, according to the RSPCA.
A spokesman said: “In the last four years, we’ve received 1,543 calls about fireworks – and this year could be worse.”
Try to give dogs a safe haven – perhaps a den or crate – and consider a calming collar or plug-in.
Walk them in daylight and close curtains and windows.
Spotify has playlists of calming music to help pets too. Also, comfort small animals with extra bedding.
Nicky Trevorrow, of Cats Protection, said: “Owners need to be especially vigilant this year.
“Make sure cats are microchipped and details are kept up to date in case yours gets spooked and runs away.
“Get your cat used to coming indoors for their dinnertime so they can be safely locked inside from dusk onwards.
“Provide a litter tray so your cat does not need to go outside.”
To help your pets through the firework season, find more tips at rspca.org.uk and cats.org.uk/fireworks.
HE is on a mission to help our pets . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.
Sean, who is the head vet at tailored pet food firm tails.com, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years.
He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.”
I HAVE two cats and a Labradoodle. They all hate their monthly flea treatments.
The vet said the spot-on solution just feels wet to them and not painful. But they disappear at the mere sight of the packets and I have to pin down one of my cats.
Wendi Witton, Brighton
Sean says: It is wet and has a cooling sensation when it evaporates, so it is a weird feeling. And they don’t understand the benefit. You could ask if there are other options suited to your gang.
For dogs, at least, there are tasty chewable treats. For cats, there are long-acting injections and some other options. The important thing is that you use a combination of parasite-control products to cover them against all the threats, especially for your dog with lungworm.
Chat with your vet again if it is really getting to be a pain.
MY dog Winston sits on me when I talk with my husband.
We don’t shout, we’re just both loud talkers. But my two-year-old French and Old Tyme Bulldog cross climbs on top of me whenever we talk loudly.
He also shows signs of anxiety by licking his lips.
At Christmas time, he gets scared of the cracker bangs so every time we sit at the dining room table it makes him anxious.
Jenna Rufus, Fleet, Hants
Sean says: Winston sounds like a real mummy’s boy. Am I wrong, Jenna? It seems like he’s being protective of you if he thinks you and your husband are arguing.
The important thing is not to reward the behaviour by stroking, babying or reassuring him when he does it. He just then thinks it is the reaction you want from him.
The same goes at the dining table. You need to ignore the unwanted behaviour until he realises nothing bad is going to happen and it is boring being so on edge all the time.
I WANT to move out of London to the South West but my cat Billy is a nervous traveller.
He is 13 and can’t go five minutes in the car without stress.
Is there a relaxant or sedative that can be prescribed by a vet to help? Otherwise I won’t be able to move, as he means everything to me.
Susan Hall, London
Sean says: Yes, there are several options that will keep him so calm he’ll have a whale of a time. But at his age it is wise for him to have a basic health check and blood test to make sure he is in good health first.
This will rule out any underlying problems that might affect which drugs your vet can prescribe.
WE lost our little French bulldog last month and now see changes in our other dog’s behaviour.
He’s grieving and so isn’t eating, is nervous and refuses to go on walks. We just want to help him cope.
Tayla Barnes, Coventry
Sean says: I’m sorry. It’s always so tough to lose a pet, not only on us but often on our other animals too.
But this sense of loss will pass much quicker for your other dog than for you. So try to be upbeat and happy around him, don’t change your behaviour too much or constantly comfort him when he is a bit quiet.
He may be feeling weird if you are treating him in a way you have never done before.
Doggy play dates help too. Take his mind off his buddy with lots of fun activities and gradually he’ll get used to the new situation. Oh, and why not consider a lovely rescue dog who needs a home to keep him company?
Star of the week
EIGHT-month-old kitten Keith Pilchards kept his owners smiling by dancing in lockdown.
Keith lives with Lianna Jewell, her husband Toby, 39, and their four-year-old twins Vinnie and Roxy, in Hackney, East London.
The couple run a catering company but their work vanished when venues shut.
Lianna, 38, said: “We lost all our work. Then we had to self-isolate for a couple of weeks with our twins in a flat, so we needed a boost.
“We got Keith from a local breeder. He is so cute and loves jumping around and dancing.
“The kids dress him up like a doll and they push him in the laundry basket like it’s a car.
“He really is our star and is getting us through it until we can cater for events again.”
Win a Feliway plug-in diffuser
KEEP your feline friends calm in firework season with the Feliway Optimum plug-in diffuser.
Use it in your cat’s favourite room to release comforting pheromones. We have eight sets, worth £39 each, to give away.
To enter, email FELIWAY to sundaypets @the-sun.co.uk.
Terms and conditions apply. Closes October 26.
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