COLUMN: Fireworks can send your pet up the wall

Julia Mewes, of the Mewes Vets in Haywards Heath
Julia Mewes, of the Mewes Vets in Haywards Heath

Julia Mewes, of The Mewes Vets in Haywards Heath, talks about her life as a vet.

As I’m sure you’re aware, all pets have different personality traits that make us love them as a part of the family.

Some pets can be cheeky and bound around confidently, and others are quieter and have a shy, sometimes nervous disposition.

In my first few veterinary years, most of my canine patients showed at least some fear of being put on the table. Many now beg to come up for their treats! It’s amazing what 15-minute appointments allow me to do in terms of reassuring nervous visitors.

Because of my normal experiences with first visits, I remember being super-surprised when I met my first agility trained competitor. At a single word from his owner, Coco leapt neatly onto the table and lay down flat, just as he had been taught to do in competitions. It was astounding; I stood there in amazement at the dog’s obedience.

I had a similar revelation when I met my first Guide Dog. Taught to be calm, attentive and intelligently responsive to their environment, it still never ceases to amaze me how clever and wonderful they are.

Sometimes, however, even for these impeccably trained Guide Dogs – and all dogs for that matter – fireworks can be slightly too much for them to handle and so actions have to be taken to keep them calm.

When talking about fireworks and their effects on dogs, I always remember a story a close friend of mine once told me.

My friend was working in the Eastbourne area and was called out after dark to see two lovely Guide Dogs. She was confident she could help settle them both with a simple injection of a mild sedative, but on arrival she had one embarrassing job first. The house was in complete darkness as the two owners navigated their home without their sight. She felt somewhat ridiculous having to check that it was ok for her to turn the lights on so that she could see what she was doing! So, with the lights on, my friend was able to administer a small sedative to both of the dogs, and leave the house in a much calmer atmosphere – catching the end of the firework display.

Managing your dog’s reaction to fireworks is tricky, but once you master it, it’s something well worthwhile for both you and your pooch. Remember – no matter how obedient or calm they may be in everyday life, your companion might need some TLC when it comes to fireworks!