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Mill Road Vet Hospital / Tuesday, 27 June 2017



We may love them, but many of our pets don’t. If you have a pet that turns into a quivering wreck at this time of year, we have some advice from the Veterinary Behaviour guru at Massey University:



Well before:

  • Microchip and register your pet in case they run away. (Note that the SPCA microchips cats before re-homing, but its up to you to get them registered)

  • Consider using calming aids or anti-anxiety medication for severe cases. These need time to be effective, so contact us now.

  • Provide a safe hiding place and get your pet used to it now.


Before it starts:

  • Maintain a normal routine and stay calm yourself

  • Walk your dog while its still light

  • Close windows, doors & cat flaps (provide a litter tray) to prevent escape

  • Close curtains, mask noise with radio, tv or white noise (fan etc)


Once it starts:

  • Remain calm yourself and provide quiet reassurance.

  • Avoid inadvertently reinforcing anxiety by excessive treat giving or making a fuss.

  • Stay nearby. Don’t leave them alone.

  • Distraction: special toys, chews, food puzzles and games can help



  • Give them time & space to recover.

  • Ensure the effects of sedation medication are completely worn off before allowing your pet outdoors.



  • Punish their behaviour. It makes their anxiety worse

  • Overdo reassurance. It can reinforce the behaviour

  • Leave it until the last minute

  • Force them to “face their fear”. It makes it worse and can cause fear aggression or “learned helplessness”.



These need time to be effective and there can be quite a wide range of effectiveness, depending on the individual animal. These are the products we typically use, with links to their websites. You’ll find further advice as well as information on the products here.

Contact us as soon as you can if you are interested in trying any of these products.



Some pets need extra help! We can prescribe short term anxiolytics for predictable events such as fireworks.


When anxiety is more generalised or severe, pets can benefit from long-term medication in combination with behaviour modification. Generally pets don’t habituate to their anxiety triggers. Over time the problem tends to get worse and the triggers can increase to include predictors (such as night time) and similar sounds (such as slamming doors).


If you think your pet could benefit from medication please call us soon to make an appointment.

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