Veterinary guidelines for dealing with fireworks problems in pets at Christmas

Veterinary guidelines for dealing with fireworks problems in pets at Christmas

from Badajoz Official Veterinary College We shared an expert’s statement to clear doubts about one of the most common conditions that can occur in small animal clinics during Christmas datesproblems caused by its use in pets, pyrotechnics.

In an interview, the veterinarian specializing in animal ethology Carmen Mengibar FuentesA graduate of the University of Córdoba, with 15 years of experience in the Small Animal Veterinary Clinic, covers this topic in depth.

Mengibar is an expert in this field and since he finished his education, he continued his education focusing on the field of ethology and received a master’s degree. clinical ethology of small animals. He is also part of the Animal Behavioral Medicine Specialization Group (GEMCA) Spanish Association of Veterinary Specialists in Small Animals (avepa).

During Christmas, the vet explains, depending on the stimulus it causes. the sounds of fireworks and other elements of fireworks, some dogs may have a phobia of these stimuli.

In this sense, he explains: phobia is an irrational fear, that is, an overreaction to a particular stimulus. In the case of phobias in dogs, the fear the animal feels is related to stimuli that do not imply real danger, but despite this, if the stimulus persists, the fear is getting strongerIt causes very extreme and harmful reactions for the animal and its environment.

The expert thinks exposing pets to very intense moments of noise, clapping or hitting the pans next to them is a technique known as: flood and may very inefficient.

“If the dog wants to hide where he feels comfortable we have to let it. It is common for them to choose bathrooms, which are not recommended because tiles amplify noises,” he advises.

Also, lending extreme caution may be in a crisis increase stress level and always recommends acting naturally. “Dogs are very sensitive to people’s reactions, so staying calm will help them do the same,” she says.

Anxiety symptoms can be interpreted as: request for attention from animal to human. In the case of dogs, they are more sensitive to hearing and have the ability to anticipate noise or noise in front of those who feel phobia, such as fireworks or party sounds, in some cases this causes them to express anguish. The vet notes that without it, the person can pinpoint the cause or even detect it before they hear it.


Mengibar returns an array advice to owners To minimize the negative consequences caused by fireworks. First of all, it is the most important tool to have a dog without behavioral problems. the right period of socialization in puppy stage

This is to prevent premature separation from the mother; accustoming them to different environments; socialize with animals and people; Y expose them to various sounds (Too soft at first and little by little, if quiet, increase the volume)

“A very useful tool for noise phobias, it gives them safe zone to take shelter when they feel frightened, we will find a new hiding place that he will not reconcile with his fear. A carrier without a door or big box can be useful,” says the vet.

He states that if the animal prefers to hide under a table, it can be covered with a blanket to try. further isolate the area and give them a greater sense of security. Likewise, the carrier and the box can be covered with a blanket.

“You can do it inside the bunker place a bed he likes, toys, prizes… Anything that increases comfort. This place should be open to him, but we should not force him to be there. “The best is to work on it beforehand, show the site, play games and give edible prizes,” he says.

Moreover, sound insulation of the place from outside, as far away as possible. For example, closing blinds, curtains, windows and doors to drown out noise even when we are outside. You can also play silent music. “It is very important NOT to take him for a walk when he hears fireworks,” the vet emphasizes.

If possible, it is recommended to be with the dog when he has phobia attacks, keep calm and act natural and try to distract him with games if he’s not too scared.

Behavior modification therapies are the mainstay of treatment for phobias, but the ethologist reminds us that they are complex and must be adapted to each case. The procedure that is usually most successful in alleviating the effects of phobias includes: lots of patience, time and perseverance”point.

In this sense, he explains that it consists of two different patterns. On the one hand there is desensitizationIt is based on accustoming the dog to the stimulus by being exposed to it slowly and gradually, increasing the duration or intensity of the stimulus. slowly to let the dog absorb it. “If we do it right, the dog will never show any signs of fear,” she recalls.

On the other hand, there counterconditioningIt consists of teaching a behavior that is different from that shown by the animal in a problematic situation such as staying still.

“We teach the dog an exercise in a relaxed state for the animal and using treats. Once the exercise is learned, its performance is practiced in the presence of the problematic stimulus by rewarding the dog for inactivity. most effective when combined with desensitization” indicates the veterinarian.


Then Mengibar explains what happened. pharmacological guidelines Veterinarians are on hand to effectively treat these unpleasant conditions that are very harmful to dogs and cats.

Thus, it emphasizes the purpose of use. drug therapy for phobias relieve the animal’s symptoms at the time of crisis; and assist with a behavior modification therapy program.

As highlighted, there are several groups of drugs indicated for the treatment of fear of noise in dogs. Firstly, Benzodiazepines, with an anxiolytic effect and prospective amnesia (makes forget the unpleasant event). The most commonly used are alprazolam, clorazepate, and lorazepam, which differ in potency and duration of action.

“It is recommended to apply in non-stressful situations in the first place and while the owner is present to find the effective dose and monitor for any effects. paradoxical excitement“, to give advice.

draws attention to its use. 2-agonistshas an anxiolytic effect. There is a presentation of dexmedetomidine gel recently registered as a veterinary drug. It also points atypical antidepressants: Trazodone with anxiolytic and hypnotic effect in low doses.

In addition, the veterinarian emphasizes that there are other pharmacological treatments that help in the treatments and specifically mentions the following situations: nutraceuticals. So veterinarians have this resource, which helps minimize the effects of fireworks on pets.

Finally, remember that acepromazine It is contraindicated in the treatment of fears and phobias as it reduces motor responses but does not affect sensory perception. That is, the dog cannot move, but perceives the threatening stimulus, so there is an increase in anxiety and worsening of the phobia. It also inhibits aggressive behavior.


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Written by Adem

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