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Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

Bang! Whoosh! Pop! : Preparing for Fireworks Season

As the clocks go back and the nights draw in, it can be a very distressing time of the year, for both pets and their owners. Over 40% of dogs in the UK are reported to suffer with a fear of fireworks. It should also be remembered that cats will also suffer with the fireworks.

Animals who do differ with firework phobias will display a range of problems, varying from those animals who simply bark at the fireworks to try and make them go away, those that hide from them, those that show obvious signs of distress, right through to those that appear to “freeze”. For us as owners, these signs can be greatly distressing to see. Yet for the animals this fear will not only cause emotional trauma, but often lead to physical injuries as well.

So what do we, as pet owners, do to try and reduce the problems our animals suffer due to firework phobias? Simply put, there is not one simple solution. Yet, by adopting numerous strategies, we should be able make this time of year easier for our cats and dogs.

The following strategies may apply to a greater or lesser extent to certain individual situations, and often many different approaches need to be taken at the same time.
  1. If at all possible avoid the fireworks, which is easier said than done these days. If you do have a friend who lives in a remote area consider spending time with them on the worst of the fireworks, for example when the local display is on. Sadly, we all known that now firework “night” seems to last many weeks.
  2. To reduce the impact of the sound of fireworks you can try to create competing noises such as loud music. Remember not to play this too loudly as this noises itself may end up causing anxiety. In extreme cases noise-cancelling headphone can be used. “Mutt Muffs” are available through www.safeandsoundpets.com.
  3. It may seem obvious, but do close blinds and curtains well before any fireworks start to reduce the effects the sights the fireworks have on our animals.
  4. Absolutely avoid any form of punishment. This will simple lead to more anxiety and even cause your pet to become aggressive.
  5. Comforting you animal when they are scared is a controversial area. Definitely try to be at home during any known firework events. Although you shouldn’t pet or over fuss your animal when they are worried, as this can reinforce the fearful behaviour, it may help some pets to hold them firmly and lean into them, while using long, form massaging strokes, rather than normal petting.
  6. Create a “safe haven” cover an indoor crate with a blanket and put their bedding and one or two familiar toys inside. This will become a darkened den for them in which to hide, but it’s a good idea to try to get them used to this area before firework season.
  7. In many situations the most helpful method to help control firework phobias is through the use of a technique called desensitisation and counter conditioning. Essentially, this is getting your pets used to the sounds of fireworks by playing a CD at a volume that doesn’t provoke a fearful reaction, and rewarding them for this non-reaction. The volume is gradually increased, and a strict programme followed over several weeks to months. This needs to be, therefore, started well before firework season and should not be undertaken if fireworks are likely to start soon. One of the most successful programs is Sounds Scary and is available through www.soundtherapy4pets.co.uk for less than £10. If your pet suffers from firework phobia we would strongly recommend purchasing this now and to start the program in the New Year once all the fireworks have finished, and to then consider repeating the program next summer.
  8. Various medications are available to reduce our pets’ anxieties. These medications are used alongside a behaviour modification plan such as the desensitisation and counter conditioning described above, and need to be started weeks or months prior to the fireworks starting. Often at the hospital we asked at the last minute to supply something to help to calm pets. Medications are available that reduce anxiety in the short term, and will help at the time but have no lasting effect – your pet will again suffer with the same fears next year. A key point for owners is not to be scared to use these drugs. By not medicating animals when appropriate we may be simply prolonging their suffering.
  9. Pheromone treatments area available such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. These are available as a plug-in, collar and now a tablet and may help some animals, but not all.
  10. Dietary supplements such as omega-3 supplements, zylkene and calmex again may help some dogs with mild phobias.
  11. It is now possible to purchase a tight fighting wrap such as an Anxiety Wrap which is design to apply constant pressure to help relax muscles. Studies suggest these may help some, but not all, dogs. They are available through www.anxietywrap.com.
  12. To date there has been no study which has successfully shown any definite beneficial effect for behavioural change for any homeopathic treatment studied in companion animals.
The expected outcome for helping animals with firework phobia should be good if we follow and commit to a thorough desensitisation program. This will take time and patience. It has also been recognised that many animals who suffer with firework phobia also experience other behavioural issues such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder or Separation Anxiety. If you feel this may apply to you and if you are truly committed to your animal’s emotional well-being, there are many qualified people to help both you and your pet. Don’t be frightened to ask for help!
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World Blood Donor Day

Today, Wednesday 14th June, We are joining Pet Blood Bank UK in celebrating World Blood Donor day! We are recognising brilliant, heroic hounds across the country who help save lives by donating blood. Just like people, sick animals often need blood transfusions. In many cases a blood transfusion can save an animals life! Blood is used for many purposes including trauma,surgery and disease. One donation of blood can save up to four lives.
We have been holding sessions with Pet Blood Bank since February 2016 and would love to welcome more life savers to our next session on Saturday 12th August. To register,please visit www.petbloodbankuk.org or call the surgery on 01908 397777 and ask for Jess. Please help us spread the word on this important day.
Below are just a few of our amazing donors. # Heroic Hounds ❤
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COULD YOU DOG BE A LIFESAVER?

As most of you know, people can be blood donors – but did you know that dogs can be blood donors too?

The Pet Blood Bank is a charity that provides a canine blood bank service for all veterinary practices across the UK. Run as a voluntary scheme just like the human blood service, dogs from all over the country give blood at many of their sessions.
On Saturday 13th May at 10am, Milton Keynes Veterinary Group will be hosting our fifth Pet Blood Bank donor session at our branch at 7 Stoke Road, Bletchley, and we are calling out for more donors to register.
To fit the doggie donor criteria, your dog needs to be:
  • Fit and healthy
  • Between one and 8 years old
  • Weigh more than 25kg
  • Have a good temperament
  • Have never travelled abroad
  • Vaccinated
  • Not on any medication
For more information, or if you are interested in registering your pet to become a doggie blood donor, please contact the surgery on 01908 397777 and ask to speak to Jess, or register directly with Pet Blood Bank at www.petbloodbankuk.org
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Thinking of taking your pet abroad?

The Pet Travel Scheme allows you to take your pet on holiday with you to both EU and non-EU countries without the need for a stay in quarantine.

The aim of the Pet Travel Scheme is the prevent spread of Rabies Virus and Echinococcus Tapeworm and maintain the UK as a rabies-free country.
This scheme is overseen by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and more information can be found at www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview.
Different rules apply to different countries and therefore it is important to check the rules before travelling.
These rules do not apply for travel between the UK and the Channel Islands or the Isle of Mann.
The common diseases your pet could be exposed to whilst abroad can include:
  • Enrlichiosis – a type of bacteria which targets the blood and is transmitted by ticks
  • Hepatozoonosis – a microscopic parasite which targets various internal organs in the body
  • Heartworm – a larval worm which develops and lives in the heart and lungs
  • Babesiosis – a microscopic parasite which targets red blood cells and is transmitted by ticks
  • Leishmaniasis – a microscopic parasite which targets multiple organs of the body including the skin and is transmitted by flies
  • Tapeworm – a microscopic parasite picked up within the environment that is transmissible to humans, if contracted your pet is unlikely to show any symptoms
  • Rabies – a virus which targets the nervous system. It can be potentially fatal and can be transmitted to humans. It is transmitted between animals and therefore is compulsory to have your pet vaccinated when travelling
Requirements to take your pet abroad
  • Your pet must be microchipped
  • Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies by one of our veterinary surgeons. Your pet must be at least 12 weeks of age and the vaccination must be repeated every 3 years
  • Your pet will received an EU Pet Passport. Any veterinarian can administer the rabies vaccination and place the microchip but only an LVI (Local Veterinary Inspector) can complete the passport. MK Vet Group LVIs are Philip Hanlon, Philip Kilkenny, Debbie Kilkenny, Steve Bonthorne, Sonia Moulton, Doug Brain and Marina Crockford
  • Your pet will be able to travel 21 days after administration of the rabies vaccination
  • You must take your Pet Passport with you whilst abroad
  • Dogs must be seen by a LVI in the country you are visiting 24-150 hours before returning to the UK. Your pet will be administered tapeworm treatment and your passport signed at this appointment
  • You must travel using an approved transport company and via an approved route, details are available on the Defra website
If your pet is traveling to a listed country, you will follow the same process as listed above but may also need to complete a declaration form to prove you do not intend to sell or re-home your pet.
If you are travelling to a non-listed country, your pet will need to follow the same process as listed above with the addition of a blood test 30 days following the rabies vaccination and completion of a declaration form to prove you do not intend to sell or rehome.

For further information please visit www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad, or contact the surgery and we will be happy to help.

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