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In this article, Oephebia has listed some of the help which is widely available to help your pets overcome their fear or phobia of fireworks and other loud noises.

Please note that you should always consult your vet first.

The products described are for information only and do not constitute an endorsement from Animals Can Talk 2 Me. The only therapy Oephebia can personally recommend is the Bach Flowers Remedies as she is a qualified Bach Flowers therapist for animals.

Fear or phobia of fireworks and pets
Humans love to celebrate important events with fireworks. Every New Year's eve, the skies all over the world are filled with beautiful fireworks.

In the UK, every 5th November (Guy Fawkes), celebrations of the failed gunpowder plot are held up and down the country. As well as bonfires (always check your logs to see that no sleepy hedgehogs have taken residence in there before burning), fireworks are part of this tradition.

Each year wild animals and pets alike have to endure the noise of fireworks, sometimes for a few nights in a row.

Many pets can put up with the noise (Oephebia's two kitties do not seem to mind) but, some pets are very sensitive to the noise and present signs of fear from mild to very severe.
How can you help your pet to overcome their fear of fireworks or loud sounds?
- On the nights of fireworks, please try to keep your pet indoors.
- Draw the curtains and put some gentle music on. Some music specifically designed for pets exists, to make them more relaxed.
- Or have the TV on with the sound loud enough to cover the noise coming from outside.
- A few drops of essential oil of lavender in a burner will help create a relaxed atmosphere.
- Ignore your pet when they are panting or panicking, as you would inadvertently encourage their behaviour (I know, easier to say than do). Just keep doing your business in a relaxed manner. Your pet soon will pick up that there is nothing to be afraid of.
What help is on offer for my pet(s)?
Bach Flowers Remedies
Prior to the fireworks, perhaps a week or 2 before the celebrations, give your pet some Bach Flowers Remedies (see your vet first, most vets have heard of the Rescue remedy).

Oephebia would recommend the following Bach Flowers Remedies:

Rock rose For panic when hearing fireworks or big noises (extreme fear).
Cherry Plum When a pet is "loosing" it big time, panting, hiding, barking, shaking etc
Mimulus For the fear of fireworks.
Star of Bethlehem For the shock when hearing big noises.
Buy a 30 ml bottle with a pipette and fill it in with spring water (not tap water). Put 3 drops of each remedy into the bottle (Rock Rose, Cherry Plum, Mimulus and Star of Bethlehem) and mix well.

Put 4 drops of this mixture on your pet's food twice a day, and 4 drops on a treat twice a day (total of 4 drops four times a day).

The remedies are diluted, so your pet won't feel the alcohol, they have no side-effects and if the wrong remedies are given, nothing adverse will happen. They are safe as they do not contain chemicals. They can be taken in addition to traditional treatments your pet may already be taking.

Give your pet the remedies for as long as it takes for them to feel calmer and less anxious. They may not "cure" their fear totally but, at least they should feel less wound up and calmer.

After a month, repeat the procedure or, until your pet has calmed down. The Bach Flowers Remedies can be purchased on the net without any trouble, particularly in the UK.
Scullcap & Valerian Tablets
A licensed herbal medicine for the symptomatic relief of anxiety, nervousness and excitability.

The medicine can be given one week before firework night and continued for as long as needed, until the firework season has stopped! If your pet has become very stressed in the past it is often useful to start the tablets earlier - anywhere between 10 days and 3 weeks, depending on how severely affected they have been. Don't panic if you have not left a lot of time to prepare as you can still give these tablets on the day of the fireworks and they will still help your pet.

*Always seek your vet's advice before giving an herbal remedy to your pet.
Serene-UM Calm naturally calms and soothes dogs for aggression, separation anxiety, fireworks and noise phobias.

Formulated for cats and dogs who show signs of behaviour related disorders, excessive barking, tail chasing, poor concentration, pacing, unruliness and nervousness, Serene-UM relaxes your pet without sedating it.

Serene UM is totally natural, totally safe for pets and has no harmful side effects.

*Always seek your vet's advice before giving a natural remedy to your pet.
Zylkene helps in any stressful situation, particularly with sudden, loud noises, such as thunder or fireworks.

Zylkene is a food supplement made from a protein found in milk. The active ingredient is a peptide (a simple sort of protein molecule) which is able to bind temporarily to certain receptors in the brain. This has a calming influence which is similar in some ways to tranquilliser drugs such as diazepam ("Valium"), but without the side effects. It has been clinically proven to be effective in dogs and cats (as well as rats and humans).

The capsules are opened and sprinkled on food once daily. The contents seem to taste delicious to most dogs and cats and are easy to give.

*Always seek your vet's advice before giving a natural remedy to your pet.
Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure.

By mimicking the cat's natural facial pheromones, Feliway creates a state of familiarity and security in the cat's local environment.

As a result, Feliway can be used to help comfort and reassure cats, while they cope with a challenging situation and/or help prevent or reduce the stress caused to a cat during firework seasons.

*Always consult your vet if your cat is showing signs of stress. Your cat's problem may be of a clinical origin and may require further treatment.
D.A.P (Dog Appeasing Pheromone)
DAP is a synthetic copy of a dog's naturally occurring appeasing pheromones from the lactating female.

The DAP Diffuser is a natural solution, there is no sedative effect and the dogs ability to interact and play is maintained.

Help reduce stress-related behaviours in response to challenging situations (fireworks, Christmas, new baby etc.)

DAP is designed specifically for dogs, is odourless, non-sedative and has no effect on people or any other animals.

*Always consult your vet if your dog is showing signs of stress. Your dog's problem may be of a clinical origin and may require further treatment.
Sound Therapy
This therapy is to help your pet to familiarise with scary sounds in a safe environment. There are a few CDs available on the market to try to tackle your pet's anxiety when faced with fireworks, thunder or gunshot sounds.

You will start using a sound therapy CD at very low volume, to help your pet to become more relaxed around the perceived threatening sound(s).

After a while and when no sign of fear is clearly seen, then the sound level of the CD can be slightly increased. This simple procedure can be done over a period of a few weeks, and requires patience and time, but it can help your pet to overcome their fear progressively and naturally.
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