Eden Park Vets is a RCVS accredited veterinary surgery based in Eden Park, close by to the West Wickham area. Our established local practice has over 20 years of practical experienced caring for animals, including cats, dogs and smaller animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits. Every year we speak to pet owners who phone us about an anxious and distressed pet during the firework season.
On this page, our vets and veterinary surgery nurses share some valuable information for pet owners in West Wickham and the surrounding London and Kent areas, to prepare your pet for the upcoming holiday season. Remember, fireworks no longer just happen on bonfire night, but can occur at any time throughout the winter holiday season, from late October to New Years. The sooner you prepare the better!
Is your pet afraid of fireworks?
The first thing to establish is if your pet is afraid of fireworks, signs can include one or a range of the following:
• Panting excessively
• Barking or meowing
• Shaking and trembling
• Destroying things
• Appears anxious and clingy
• Going to the toilet inside
Eden Park Vets – Tips on How You Can Help
Our expert veterinary surgery team explain that there are a number of ways in which pet owners in West Wickham and throughout the UK can help their pets, through prevention techniques, preparation or pheromones.
If you own a young animal, try behavioural prevention techniques to stop your pet from associating fireworks with fear and bad associations. One of the best ways to do this is by giving them a treat (preferably their favourite ones!) when exposed to the loud noise of a firework going off. Our vets explain that this is a form of counter conditioning, in which the dog or cat will learn to associate fireworks with nice things. For older animals, counter conditioning can also work but it can take weeks and months.
Another behavioural method pet owners in West Wickham and the surrounding areas can try is desensitisation therapy. This involves exposing your pet to the ‘scary noises’ at a much lower intensity over a period of months, playing the sounds very quietly. Combine this with treats and have everyone sit down calmly, to create a relaxing environment. If choosing this option, we recommend speaking to our veterinary surgery team who can advise you on how best to implement it.
Make sure you take the time to prepare for the firework season by ensuring your pet has a comfortable hiding place where he or she feels safe. Try also to understand what your pet needs from you when he or she is scared, this may be being left alone in their den or being close to you. Whichever way, avoid making a fuss to reassure them there is no reason to be scared.
We also recommend that pet owners check that their pets are sufficiently microchipped and your contact details are up to date, just in case your pet gets frightened and runs off. You can bring your pet into our Eden Park veterinary surgery, near West Wickham, for microchipping and scanning. Simply contact us to arrange a prompt appointment with one of our vets.