If your dog or cat is part of the one-third of the pet population found to be adversely affected by gunpowder in research by the University of Bristol, the following suggestions will be of interest to you.
Despite attempts to ban its use in Colombia, unfortunately gunpowder remains a loyal companion of celebrations across the country. Not only are humans exposed to the negative consequences of these irresponsible practices, but pets or pets are also victims of the rumbling sound of gunpowder.
In fireworks, dogs and cats experience a surge of stress that causes their bodies to release a hormone associated with these alert states called cortisol. This hormone has many effects on animal physiology. If we talk about the symptoms, they can range from mild or imperceptible to extremely serious.
There may be increased heart rate, frequent short sighs, tremors and agitation, hypersalivation, pupillary dilation, uncontrolled urination and defecation, or self-harming. Pets become defensive and even flee, suffer gastrointestinal disorders, and cases of animals dying from heart failure are also detailed.
Behavioral signs may include activity changes, i.e. paralysis or restlessness, changes in appetite, behavior such as contact or proximity seeking with people or other dogs, loud vocalizations, and attempts to hide or escape where they can endanger your life. risk.
“I had a dog that looked like he had separation anxiety but was actually gunpowder phobia. It damaged an armored door and ate several plastic boxes in an area where they locked it as the blasts passed. Andrea Mejía, a veterinarian at CES University and a clinical ethologist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, says puppies don’t understand that the problem is outside, and that in many cases injuries are caused by trying to escape.
While the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns that gunpowder causes about 20% of pet loss cases, in addition to the fact that animals near fireworks often suffer burns, eye damage and ear injuries; The latter is mainly due to the fact that any sound above 85 decibels causes irritation and can cause hearing problems in animals in the long run, because the sound of fireworks exceeds 130 decibels, which can even cause pain in dogs and cats.
Many people think that these do not become a general problem as they are sporadic episodes, but this is Andrea Mejía’s view of the frequency with which the phenomenon occurs:
“I have many such cases in consultations, but I wanted to talk about some studies on this subject. About 40 to 50% of owners are said to report noise sensitivity in their pets, whereas less than 20% of owners are likely to seek help. In addition to noise phobia, other emotions in pets can be dermatological disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and liver and urinary system diseases such as idiopathic cystitis are common in kittens.
What should I do to protect my pet?
Even if most people want to, it is almost impossible to stop the use of gunpowder day by day in Colombia, this must be a cultural change that may take some time. Therefore, best efforts should be made to adapt pets, especially the more sensitive ones, to fireworks. Here are some tips:
Early exposure to such noise (explosions) during their first months of life can have a positive impact. These sounds for doing this exercise can be found on the internet.
If a young animal shows intense startle and physiological changes, observation and initiation of basic desensitization are essential; this means that the stimulus that produces that response is displayed at a threshold at which the behavior will not be exhibited. If it’s gunpowder, turn down the sounds and increase the volume as the animal gets used to it. as the volume increases.
For gunpowder-phobic animals, it is important to prepare in advance an area that is as isolated from noise as possible, this could be a crate, dressing room or bathroom. Things the pet likes, such as toys, snacks, and blankets, should be there. You can also make use of sounds that calm the animal and then teach it to reach this conditioned space and tune in before the festivities.
Do not leave animals alone during periods of gunfire. Being alone will increase your stress level.
Owners are often the emotional thermometer for their pets, and animals may feel more upset if they see their owners upset.
This option should be taken with the utmost care. In more extreme cases, medications can help your pet relax and even save his life, but they should be prescribed by a professional and administered as directed.
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