Friday, 23 October 2020

Fireworks are no fun.

With many pets anxious and fearful of loud noises, the firework season can result in some stressful evenings for pets and owners alike.

Signs to look out for in your pet include panting, trembling, pacing, seeking people, hiding or trying to escape, refusal to eat, inappropriate urination or defaecation, vocalisation,  as well as changes in facial expression and body language indicative of stress.

To help your pet cope with this time of year, here are some helpful steps you can take at home. It's important to be prepared, so now is the time to act, before the fireworks start.

  • Provide your dog with a safe retreat or denMany people will create a den by using a dog crate covered on three sides with a blanket, but a space under a piece of furniture could do the job equally well. Provide a cosy bed or blankets in which they can hide and feel secure. Allow them freedom to access and leave the den at all times and provide positive experiences whilst they are using it, like a favourite toy or treat and give lots of praise. Leave a water bowl nearby so that your dog can easily get a drink. Prepare this area in advance to allow your pet time to get used to using it.
  • Cats tend to find their own safe haven such as under a bed , behind a sofa or up high on top of a wardrobe. You might like to provide a cardboard box on its side with a blanket inside or an igloo bed. It can be placed in your cats preferred hiding place, but don't force them to use it, they will choose to do what makes them feel most comfortable. Provide a litter tray that they can easily access.

Calming products;      
There are some excellent natural calming products available to help manage stress in dogs and cats.  FeliwayⓇ for cats and AdaptilⓇ for dogs are some of the best known – they mimic the comforting pheromones, which are naturally produced by the animals.

We stock a product called Pet Remedy which is a blend of essential oils that can help to calm anxious and stressed animals. It is available in a diffuser or spray format and starts to help immediately. 


Pet remedy plug-in diffuser - £18.92
Pet remedy refills (2 pack) - £18.92
Pet remedy calming spray 15ml - £5.26
Pet remedy calming spray 200ml -  £16.66

Pet remedy calming wipes ( 12 pk ) - £7.20
Pet remedy party survival kit - £ 23.39

ZylkeneⓇ is a calming supplement that contains a natural ingredient derived from a protein in milk called casein that has clinically proven calming properties to help relax dogs and cats. It is available as either a capsule that can be sprinkled on their food or a tasty chew. 

These products can help with many stressful events - do speak to your vet or nurse!

๐Ÿ‘•A Thunder-Shirt for dogs is based on the concept of swaddling or compression. Just as swaddling new born babies can help them to feel more secure, the gentle pressure applied by the Thunder-Shirt can have a calming effect and help anxious dogs feel more secure. 
(This method may not work for some dogs).

Prescribed medication

There are drugs that can be prescribed for particularly stressed pets. For dogs that get particularly worried by fireworks, a product is now available to help them with noise phobias. It provides a calming effect without sedating them. It is a gel that is applied to the gums, so it can be administered at home. Your dog should be able to function normally, and of course, be less concerned about the noises.

Your pet will require a  health check with a vet before any medication can be prescribed.

Please ask us today about the best option for your pet❕



Some tips for on the night(s)
  • Take your dog for a walk early in the evening before the fireworks start.
  • Ensure your pet is safely inside and secure doors, windows and cat flaps. Cats will need a litter tray.
  • Is your pet micro-chipped in case they do escape and are your details up-to-date? 
  • Try not to leave your pet alone when fireworks are going off. Pets may hurt themselves or cause damage if they are not supervised. Having you there provides reassurance and comfort.
  • Shut curtains, keep lights on and switch on the radio or TV to help muffle out the sounds of the fireworks.
  • Provide distraction in the form of toys, games, chews or favourite treats.
  • A little calm reassurance from you, should they seek it, will go along way. It's ok to acknowledge that your pet is anxious but continue to remain relaxed yourself and carry on normally. Some pets will seek out comfort from you, it is ok to soothe them but don't over fuss. Others will prefer to hide, that's likely all the comfort that they need - they have found their safe haven. 
  •  Praise your pet if they are relaxed with cuddles and a treat.
  • Act normally and try to stick to your normal routine. Ignore the fireworks.
  • Don’t get cross or punish your pet, regardless of their behaviour, as it will only make them more distressed.
  • Should your dog need to go into the garden to the toilet, keep them close to you on a lead.
  • Cats prefer to be left to cope on their own - let them find a hiding place and leave them undisturbed.
๐ŸŽ‡It is a good idea to find out if any public firework displays are scheduled in your local area to ensure that you are at home with your pet when it is happening.
๐ŸŽ†If you are planning your own firework party, let your neighbours know so that they can be prepared.
๐Ÿ”ฅDon't forget to check bonfires thoroughly before lighting as hedgehogs (and other wildlife) like to sleep in them. Lift up the base using a broom handle and listen for any noise, shine a torch into the log pile, or even better, move the bonfire completely before lighting. Light a bonfire from one side only, it will provide an escape route for a hog. 
(Information courtesy of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society)

Tips for outdoor rabbits and guinea pigs;

  • If the hutch is attached to a run, make sure that your pet is back in their hutch before it gets dark and close off access to the run.
  • Provide plenty of extra hay in which they can burrow and hide. A cardboard box ,with a hole cut in the side for access and filled with hay, makes a good hiding place.
  • Turn the hutch to face a wall or fence to help block out the flashes,  or cover the hutch. Do however ensure that there is enough ventilation.
  • If you can, move the hutch indoors to a cool part of the house or into a shed for example.
  • You could always bring them inside for a cuddle (if they are used to this) or pop them in a pet carrier indoors in a cool room with plenty of hay during the worst period of the fireworks.

Behaviour modification
Other than changes to the home environment, or medication, you can try behaviour modification to ease your pet's fear. This is more of a long-term management option which can be very effective. A process called 'de-sensitisation' teaches your pet not to react to the fear stimulus and then eventually to associate it with something positive. Ask your vet about sound therapy and for further advice on behaviour modification.


The contents of the Arden House Animal Hospital website are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Veterinary Surgeon with any questions you may have regarding your animal’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Star pet - Lottie ( hall of fame)

Lottie is our star pet after recovering from serious injuries she received after being hit by a car.

At the end of November a kind member of the public found a little dog in the middle of the road having been knocked by a car. She was brought straight in to the Ruislip hospital and vet Louise carried out an initial examination. She was unable to stand on her hind legs and she had a large skin wound on her right thigh. The dog, a sweet Jack Russell terrier, was in shock and pain so Louise gave her some pain relief medication and started intravenous fluid therapy to treat the shock. We scanned her to read her microchip number and entered it into the microchip database where we found out her name was Lottie and she was 15 years of age! The database also provided us with her owner's details and we were able to get in touch with them. They came staight in to see her. They explained that Lottie had got a bit confused on a walk and had wandered off by herself and got lost. 

Lottie required some initial x-rays of her chest and hind legs to determine the extent of her injuries. Although she had suffered some bruising to her chest, the x-rays showed no major damage. The preliminary results of her leg x-rays revealed no fractures to the bones in her legs but revealed a dislocation of her hip.Being an older girl, the chance of a full recovery from her injuries was reduced, but Lottie's owners were keen to give her every chance of recovery so treatment was commenced

Before Lottie was given a general anaesthetic, a blood sample was taken to test her liver and kidney health.The results showed no abnormalities which was good news especially for a dog of Lottie's age! With the assistance of student nurse Becky, Louise administered the general anaesthetic and a more detailed x-ray of Lottie's pelvis ( hips) was taken. Louise then carried out a procedure on Lottie's dislocated hip called a closed reduction whereby the leg is manipulated to enable the ball joint to move back into place within the hip socket.

Next Louise treated Lottie's large 10cm wound on her thigh. It was contaminated by dirt, grit and hair so it required lots of flushing to remove the debris before being cleaned and stitched closed. Because of the trauma caused to the skin and soft tissues from the accident, there was a risk that the wound could  come apart (breakdown) so this needed to be closely monitored.Lottie also required a few stitches in a smaller wound on her left knee.

In theatre, Lottie was monitored closely by nurse Dayna and student nurse Becky. Her heart rate and breathing rate were recorded along with her pulse rate, temperature and depth of anaesthesia. She remained stable throughout the procedures and recovered well from the general anaesthetic. 

Lottie stayed in hospital with us for four days so that we could administer pain relief injections and intravenous antibiotics.Her movement needed to be kept to a minimum to help keep her hip in place, but we also needed to assess her mobility to see if she could stand herself up and place weight on her legs.
She was as good as gold for the vets and nurses looking after her in the hospital and they were so pleased when her appetite started to improve - a good sign that she was feeling brighter. 

It was lovely to see Lottie go home. Her owners continued with her care, keeping her quiet and rested in a dog crate.  As suspected, the wound opened up a little over her thigh but the vets decided to let the wound heal naturally ( second intention healing). Lottie's owners gently bathed the area to keep it clean and after 4 weeks the wound healed completely. Lottie is now back enjoying her senior years. 

For being so brave and a perfect patient, Lottie is a much deserved star pet!