Best way to help pets deal with fireworks
Ask the vet
Our 12-year-old Labrador Lola has always hated fireworks. This week though she refused to go out at all except for the toilet and looked terrified until she was back in the house. What can we do to make her feel safe in future? Setting up a cosy den in your home can provide a safe space Lola can escape to when she becomes anxious or frightened. Pheromone diffusers are also helpful to relieve stress.
As Lola already has a phobia of fireworks, she will need help to cope with this. An accredited behaviourist can put together a personalised desensitisation programme, that should help Lola calm her fears in future. Make sure Lola is microchipped so if she does get away from you, you’ll be quickly reunited.
For more advice, speak to your vet and download the PDSA’s fireworks guide: www. pdsa.org.uk/fireworks
Our one-year-old cat has started to uirinate around the house, despite using the litter tray fine previously. We’ve had flu recently, could she have caught an infection?
It is highly unlikely she has caught flu from you. It can be tricky but it’s always best to take a urine sample with you to the vet as this will help with any diagnosis.
Your vet will be able to sell you a kit, including specialist litter, to help collect a fresh sample.
If your vet feels the cat’s problem is stress related, try using a pheromone diffuser as part of treatment to help relieve her stress.
I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I heard spaniels can sometimes have a problem with
their brains being squashed because they have been bred to have such small heads. How can I tell if Barney is affected by this?
The condition you’re referring to is called syringomyelia, which is particularly common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It causes a pressure point between the brain and spinal cord and a fluid filled area then develops, causing further pressure, which is extremely painful. Signs your dog is affected can include their head being titled back tilted back and chomping at the air (fly catching), scratching at the neck and shoulder area, weakness of the front limbs or yelping episodes for no reason have all been reported.
If you’re worried discuss this with your vet.
I have recently got a Chinchilla and am worried about what to do if he gets ill. Do I need to register in advance with a vet, and do I need to go to a specialist?
It is sensible to prepare for the possibility of your pet becoming ill. I would recommend registering with a vet and, even better, would suggest taking your new pet to see your vet for an initial health check. As well as assessing its health and detecting any possible problems, they can also offer advice on important aspects of general care, such as housing, enrichment and nutrition.
It is also important to budget for your pet’s health care and insurance is one way of achieving this. For more information on caring for chinchillas, see: www. pdsa.org.uk/chinchillas