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Fireworks – How To Help Your Pet Cope

Fun for you… Scary for them!

Desensitise them gradually and in a controlled way

Try downloading firework sound effects available on the Dogs Trust Website to gradually get them used to the noises. Start at the lowest possible volumes and very gradually increase the volume and duration of sounds each day over a number of weeks. Reward and praise any calm behaviours and if you see anxiety, stop immediately and take it back to the previous volume – only progress when they are calm. If your pet has a very negative reaction, do not force them to listen and try another approach.

Provide a safe space

This will give your pet a place to hide where they feel safe. In the weeks leading up to firework season, give your dog access to this den at all times. Cover the den with blankets and line it with pillows or cushions to absorb some of the noise. Give treats and praise when your dog uses it, to build a positive association but don’t force them to use it if they prefer to hide somewhere else. Cats often feel safest when high up. So they may prefer a space on a shelf or the top of a cupboard.

Act  normal                                                                                        

Animals are highly perceptive and will notice if you’re behaving unusually. Following your pet around or being overly affectionate may cause them to feel nervous or confused. You can still reassure your pet, by playing with their favourite toy for example but try to behave as normally as possible. The more you change your behaviour, the more anxious your pet may become.

Calming supplements can be used in conjunction with behavioural aids, or in severe cases anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed by the vet.

Updated – Brexit and Pet Passports

Unfortunately, even at this late stage, there is no definite information about how pet travel to the EU will be affected from January next year.

There are still 3 possible outcomes with the UK becoming an unlisted country or a Part 1 / 2 listed country.  What documentation you will need and what steps you will need to take to travel with your pets abroad will depend on which of these categories the UK become to the rest of the EU.


This means that pets require a blood test to show their rabies protection is adequate. The test can be taken at any time after vaccination. However, as rabies vaccinations are only given every 3 years, levels may not show sufficiently high to ‘pass’ the test if the sample is taken a long time after vaccination, despite immunity being present and effective.

The ideal time to take a blood sample to (nearly always) ensure a ‘pass’ is approximately a month after vaccination.

Those pets who are already vaccinated and have a PETS passport would require a blood test and a ‘pass’ achieved. Those that fail would need to be revaccinated and retested a month later. To maximise your chance of a successful pass it is often best to revaccinate and test a month later to ensure high levels of immunity.

If the test is passed, then you will have to wait 3 months before you can travel with your pet.  The 3 months is timed from the date the blood test is taken which must be at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination.  This means that it could be a 4 month wait until your pet can travel.

Other changes may well be the need to obtain an Animal Health Certificate from your vet every time you travel abroad rather than using the same passport each time.  There will also be designated points of entry to other countries rather than the full choice of routes and entries that we have currently.

It will also be necessary to keep rabies vaccinations up to date and not let them lapse / go overdue as this could mean repeating the blood test.

Hopefully some or all of this won’t be needed if we get an agreement and we become a listed county.

If you plan to travel early in 2021 and want to be sure of no issues, it may be worth planning and doing some of this now so that your plans will not be interrupted.

Some clients went through this process last year and this will not need to be repeated.

Ideally, we wait and see how the situation is resolved and make plans for paperwork and travel later based on the decision. Perhaps not planning to travel in the first few months of 2021 would be prudent.

In the meantime if you have any queries please contact the Practice or email and we will endeavour to help. 

Ernest Armstrong MRCVS

Microchipping your pets

Here at Armstrong Mobile Vets we have noticed an increase in beloved pets going missing. Most of these animals have not had microchips or any identification tags on collars.

A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip itself is very small, about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted just under the skin between the shoulder blades at the back of your pets neck. Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a special scanner. The unique number is recorded on a database with details about the animal and owner. Pet owners need to ensure their contact details are recorded on the database against their pet’s microchip number. Should your pet wander or become lost, vets, animal shelters and local councils can scan your pet for a microchip and contact you via the database.

As well as having a microchip as peace of mind for you, on 6th April 2016 it became compulsory in England, Scotland and Wales for all dogs to be chipped and registered.

Even the most well behaved and best trained pets can go astray. if your pet is not chipped please contact us on 01453 543516 and we and we arrange this simple painless procedure to be carried out.