Pure contentment, peace, and calm can turn into sheer terror in a matter of moments for your pets if your guests, neighbors, or city is banging pans, shooting off fireworks, or firing guns*, on New Year’s Eve.
Animals can feel and hear noises from miles away, and they may run as far to get free.
Please do consider what fear from fireworks and other loud noises can do to change the personality of your pets. Formerly content dogs have been known to dig under fences and break through glass windows or screen doors to escape the scary sounds. If your kitty has never peed outside of the box, or clawed your brand new furniture, being scared can change all that, immediately.
I am certainly wishing everyone a joyful and fun-filled celebration when saying goodbye to 2011 and welcoming in 2012 (I know I am), but do take care to keep your beloved animals safe.
Start preparing now!
• Walk dogs early in the evening. Once the celebrations begin some pets may be too scared to void, leading to later accidents.
• Keep your pets indoors. Even if they normally live outside, contained animals are safest. Gates can become unlatched, and dogs have been known to dig their way away from the noise, getting lost, or worse, hit by a car or injured in another way. If your cat is normally an indoor-outdoor cat, keep them indoors for a few days. Unfortunately, there are still sadistic people around who think its great fun to tie a string of firecrackers to a cat’s tail. Don’t let your cat become a statistic! Close the curtains and blinds and turn on the TV or radio. Your pet may find a sense of security by being in a comfortable carrier or crate placed in a quiet area of your home.
• Use a leash or carrier. If you must be outside with your pet, keep them on a leash or in their carrier at all times.
• Secure gates, doors, and windows. Be sure there is no way your animals can escape from your home, so if you are having a party, crating your animals in a quiet place is safest.
• Make sure pet ID is current. Make sure that your pet has proper identification tags, with current information, in case they get away. Though collars with tags are a great way to reunite you and your pet, they can come off, so micro-chipping and licensing with your county is the best way to get them back.
• Don’t feed table scraps. Though it is tempting, an already nervous stomach can turn ugly when greasy, and out of the ordinary food is given as a treat. Stick to their routine and feed only their fare and treats.
•Bach Flower Essences. Rescue Remedy, a combination of five essences, is a good all-purpose way to calm your pets from trauma or fear. Mimulus, another Bach Flower Essence, is a single remedy to treat fear of known things such as fireworks and other loud noises. Working for both humans and animals, it acts simply and effectively to quiet fears and regain confidence and composure.
Even if you have followed all of the safety tips, your animal may still experience severe fear from fireworks. Some general and common signs that your pet is terrified are:
• Shaking and trembling
• Excessive drooling
• Barking and howling
• Trying to hide, digging to get out of the house, under the fence, or out of their enclosure
• Refusal to eat
• Loss of bladder or bowel control, or diarrhea
Note: If any of these symptoms persist, see your veterinarian as some of these are also signs of illnesses or poisoning.
Last but not least, do not takeyour pet with you and then leave them in the car. Despite their persistence and desire to go along, they are safest and most secure at home.
With vigilance, the distraction of a favorite toy (perhaps a Kong filled with peanut butter), and YOUR care, your animals will shift into 2012 safely.
Happy New Year everyone! Here’s wishing you all a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2012!
NOTE: Bach Flower Essences may be purchased at your local health food store. Rescue Remedy and Mimulus, along with the other essences, are available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Sunflower Markets. Rescue Remedy is available in a pet version that is free of alcohol, and also in an easy to administer spray bottle. If you want more information about the Bach essences, please email me at email@example.com
*Yes, I did say shooting guns! Though it’s against the law in Phoenix to discharge a firearm within the city limits, some people still believe its part of their New Year’s celebration to fire their weapons into the air. And who knows where that bullet will land???