Fear of firecrackers can seriously affect the welfare of the animal
The “Verbena de Sant Joan” is approaching, the dreaded week of firecrackers for many of our dogs that we also suffer because of what they go through. An intense acoustic component, such as firecrackers, can generate fear / phobia and anxiety in our dogs, putting their well-being at risk.
Fear is a normal emotional response that facilitates the adaptation and survival of the individual, when he faces a threat. However, when the dog cannot adapt to this situation, as it happens with these days of incessant firecrackers, the fear reaction becomes disproportionate, with the phobia appearing. In addition, the animal develops an anxiety picture because it learns to anticipate this situation that generates fear. Anxiety symptoms are the cause of physiological and behavioral changes in them.
In order to deal with this unfavorable situation, the first thing we have to do is not expose the animal to firecrackers. Once they are away from the noise, they must be offered a safe space, indoors, that isolates them from firecrackers. We create a safe area or refuge for them (“the bunker theory”). In addition, it is advisable to seek help from a professional clinical ethologist veterinarian so that, with psychopharmacological therapy, he treats the anxiety symptoms of those most affected. Today we have anti-anxiety medication that improves the animal’s situation. Gone is the use of medications such as acepromazine. For many years it has been used as the well-known “firecracker pill”. Unfortunately, today we know that not only does it not have an anxiolytic effect, but that it decreases the movement capacity of the animal, but not the perception of the environment, which can produce hypersensitivity to noise and worsen the existing anxiety picture.
(See positioning of the acepromazine at www.gretca.com, veterinary specialists in clinical ethology and animal behavior medicine)
Finally, the curative treatment will only be achieved by applying some behavior modification guidelines that allow the dog to get used to the stimulus produced by fear.
Realizado por: África Emo (Veterinaria etóloga)
Dídac Segura (Biólogo instructor de unidades caninas)