Written by Dr. Alexia Simeonidis who graduated in veterinary medicine in 2012. She worked for several years at a veterinary emergency hospital in the San Juan area and several other clinics around the island. In 2018 he opened his own clinic Alejandrino Animal Hospital to revolutionize the practice of veterinary medicine. From the beginning she has felt a social obligation to educate about animal welfare, public health and the proper care of pets through local television, radio and social media.
Fireworks are supposed to represent celebration and rejoicing as they are commonly used during festive times as new year's eve. Although its detonation produces mesmerizing lights in the sky, it also creates a loud noise that for many people and pets has an extremely harmful effect.
Pets are especially susceptible to pyrotechnics because they perceive much higher and sharper volumes than what humans are used to processing auditorily. When subjected to the noise of fireworks, pets are prone to trying to escape and may be injured in the process. There could also be a physiological response in the animal that manifests itself with vomiting, collapse, convulsions, disorientation and respiratory difficulty as a consequence of the exaggerated auditory/neurological stimulus produced by the pyrotechnics.
What can pet owners do to protect their pets during these events?
Know your pet: Not all pets respond in the same way to the noises of pyrotechnics. Certainly, there are pets that are more sensitive than others and there are some that don't even flinch at sounds. The spectrum of symptoms they may present can vary greatly and so do treatment recommendations.
Proper identification: Under the effects of aversion to loud noises, any pet may try to escape. It is extremely important that you ensure that your pet is properly identified. You must have an identification tag on your collar at all times during this time. This tag must have the pet's name and/or owner's name, at least two phone numbers, and/or a physical address. It is important to emphasize that the rabies vaccine badge NO is appropriate identification.
Prepare early: Consult your veterinarian about treatment options for aversion to fireworks noises early. Ideally, you should start testing treatment at least two weeks before December 31st. As not all pets respond in the same way to noises, the same goes for treatments. There is no magic medication or dose that works equally for everyone. It usually starts with a low dose and is increased depending on the pet's response to the auditory stimulus.
Know the options: There are many products on the market (OTC) to "calm" pets. However, the effectiveness of these products is not proven. As with vitamin supplements for human consumption, these products are not regulated by a federal agency. The best option is to talk to a licensed veterinarian about the different pharmacological options available for the treatment of noise aversion.
Additional recommendations: On New Year's Eve you should give the first dose of the medication in the morning, in order to repeat the dose around 7-8pm. Most medications used for noise anxiety can be dosed every 8 to 12 hours. During the afternoon of December 31, make sure you have your pet inside the house, in a safe space where there is no risk of escape. Ideally, have a fan or air conditioner on. It is also recommended to turn on the radio or television to create a sound barrier. As midnight approaches, which increases the frequency of noise, remain calm while comforting your pet.
At Alejandrino Animal Hospital we have several treatment options for noise aversion that include cannabis oil supplements, cannabis chews and various anxiolytic pills. Each case is evaluated individually to choose the ideal treatment for each pet. However, you do not have to physically bring the pet with us. You can contact us via email (AlejandrinoAnimalHospital@gmail.com) to make your request for treatment without have to visit us. We need the following information in the message to be able to help you: name of the owner, name/age/weight of the pet, whether it has any pre-existing conditions and how severe its noise aversion is.