THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall Email abox­hall@big­pond.com

IT’S that time of year again. We’re head­ing into the thun­der­storm, fi re­works and party sea­son, all of which can un­set­tle an­i­mals whose hear­ing is more acute than ours.

Many a ram­bunc­tious canine turns into a trem­bling mess at the fi rst hint of thun­der or fi re­works.

Dogs are es­pe­cially prone to pan­ick­ing and, in their ter­ror, will try

Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble- style es­capes which turn out to be pos­si­ble.

Dur­ing storm and fi re­works events, the num­ber of trau­ma­tised dogs picked up by coun­cil offi cers or mem­bers of the pub­lic rises dra­mat­i­cally.

They are the lucky ones, safely taken to a pound or an­i­mal shel­ter. Oth­ers roam lost, in dan­ger of be­ing in­jured.

With re­li­able weather fore­cast­ing at our dis­posal, an­i­mal own­ers usu­ally have the op­por­tu­nity to en­sure pets are safely con­tained dur­ing storm events.

Ide­ally, dogs and cats would be kept in­doors in a safe and fa­mil­iar room.

Win­dows, doors, dog doors or cat fl aps would be closed and cur­tains drawn to re­duce the noise.

If you can­not bring your pets in­side, con­tain them in a garage or an en­closed area.

Help your pet to cope by act­ing nor­mally no ex­tra pat­ting or fuss­ing.

If you just can’t get to your pets, the ba­sics ap­ply se­cure fenc­ing and an­i­mal ID.

The storm sea­son re­in­forces the im­por­tance of hav­ing high fences and pets who are reg­is­tered and mi­crochipped, in case they do pull off the great es­cape.

Teth­er­ing is a no- no. To es­cape noise, dogs have been known to try jump­ing fences while teth­ered.

An­i­mals need a lit­tle ex­tra pro­tec­tion at party time, too.

Party pop­pers and bal­loons shouldn’t be used around pets – one bang could de­velop a long- term noise pho­bia in sen­si­tive an­i­mals.

If your pet has a noise- re­lated anx­i­ety, talk to your vet or ve­teri­nary be­haviourist for specifi c ad­vice.

There are med­i­ca­tions and coun­ter­con­di­tion­ing tech­niques that can help by in­tro­duc­ing pos­i­tive as­so­ci­a­tions with thun­der and other loud noises.

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