PET CARE: Canada Day tips for our pet’s anxiety

Columnist Nicolette Joosting examines different ways to help your pets relax through the celebration

By Nicolette Joosting

While us humans are looking forward to Canada Day and the evening fireworks celebration, the chaos and noise of the day can be extremely stressful for our pets.

However, there are some things we can do to help our animals during our celebrations. These basic principles are the same for all animals, so you can adapt these concepts for dogs, horses and small pets. Assume that all animals have an aversion to loud noises.

Fireworks are incredibly loud for an animals sensitive hearing. The booming noises are startling and at unpredictable intervals. They can be interpreted as a threat, triggering a fear and flight response in our pets. Shelters will see an increase in intakes from pets that have run away, confused and panicked, on celebration days, so make sure your pet is microchipped and registered with BC Pet Registry.

But, for those pets with nowhere to run, animals may feel trapped and panic. To help avoid this, set up a safe room or area in your home.

Dampen outside noises by closing windows, curtains or draping heavy material over part of the enclosure — but make sure they can still look out. My cats have boxes or crates to hide in, with food, water, toys and a pet washroom set up within the space. Their hiding spots are filled with blankets so they can burrow.

On the day of the event, I will close the door, placing a notice on the door requesting that nobody open it to let the cats out. When the fireworks start, I will be in the room with them, since they find that comforting. My cats don’t like white noise, but some pets find the soft sounds of TV or music helpful.

Anxiety vests can also be calming for pets. If you do not have a Thundershirt anxiety jacket, use a tight-fitting t-shirt. I will also set up the pheromone diffusers (Adaptil for dogs, Feliway for cats) in the safe room. Some people like to use supplements containing tryptophan or casein, and products such as Rescue Remedy — although feeding your cats a heavy turkey or chicken meal can work as well.

For dogs, I suggest you also ensure you get a nice long walk in during the calmer parts of the day, so that they are physically tired. Otherwise delay the evening walk until after the chaos and noise has settled. Please never bring your dog to watch the fireworks!

Drugs are a last resort for stressed-out pets, and your veterinarian can advise you on which anti-anxiety meds may be suitable. These medications, used together with the concepts above, are effective in reducing anxiety and stress. Give a dose a few days before the holiday, so you know how your pet will respond to the medication. This gives your veterinarian time to adjust the medication and dosage if needed.

In some cases, these medications need to be given for a much longer period before the event to be effective. Only give these prescribed medications to the pet they were prescribed for – don’t share and don’t give extra doses.

Fireworks and thunderstorm fear is preventable and treatable. If your pet suffers during these events, consult with your veterinarian, who together with an animal behaviourist, will be able to help you treat and train your pets for this.

Let’s enjoy our summer knowing our pets are safe and that we can help with their anxieties and fear!

Nicolette Joosting is a Harrison Hot Springs resident and veterinarian who has recently retired from her Vancouver Feline practice. She keeps herself busy through the Harrison Veterinary Service, her blog and by volunteering in the community.



news@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fraser-Cascade school district hosts by-election to fill void left by passing of Tom Hendrickson

Advance voting begins on July 17, with general voting on July 27

Okan brings Cuban rhythm to Harrison Festival of the Arts

The Cuban band from Toronto will be performing a concert and holding a workshop

Sts’ailes drum making coming to Harrison Festival

The workshop has been happening for years, bringing Indigenous teachings to the festival

Transparency, dialogue key to UBC Dairy’s open house

The annual Agassiz event invites the public to come learn about dairy farming and research around it

Chilliwack lagging real estate sales mirrors provincial trend

Forecast for 2019 is a drop from 2018 but a bounce back predicted for 2020

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

B.C. Ferries cancels two sailings Monday due to mechanical issues

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay run affected in order to repair Queen of New Westminster

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

Most Read