Frightful fireworks and tempting treats

From chocolate ingestion to noise phobias and firework injuries, this time of year can be challenging for vets

01 December 2018, at 1:40pm

Working in practice you will all be very familiar with the negative side of the fireworks season. The celebration that was traditionally a display of fireworks on one or two nights of the year has turned into a season spanning two weeks or more from the weekend before Halloween to at least the weekend after Bonfire Night, with many trying to outdo their neighbours with award-winning back garden displays.

Pet owners have many concerns during this time. Aside from noise phobic dogs and cats, there is the worry about: discarded fireworks, injury from stray fireworks, bonfire injuries, animals running away in fright and of course misuse of fireworks and injury to pets.

Many pet owners do not realise that noise phobia is a recognised condition and as such, behavioural therapy and treatment, including pheromone therapy and medication, could be covered by their insurance policy to make fireworks season less stressful for their pets.

Halloween has become more popular in the UK with many communities competing for the scariest displays and creepiest costumes. A lot of households now leave big tubs of sweets and chocolate on the doorstep so they are not disturbed by trick or treaters; this is a potentially serious hazard for pets. We settle many claims for accidental ingestion of chocolate, whether it’s been put outside by well-meaning householders or the family dog has snaffled it from the table.

Creating awareness of what your practice can do for your clients is important at this time of year. Many pet owners will be unaware that they can help their pets get through this stressful period by desensitising the noise phobia, using the correct medication well in advance of the event, ensuring that they have done their evening walk before sundown and keeping their cats and rabbits indoors on the noisiest nights.

During puppy and kitten classes, new pet owners can be educated on how to prevent noise phobia by teaching the owner how to react to fireworks around their new pets

You are in a very unique position of being able to speak to and educate new and current owners to prevent stress and illness at this time of year. Putting up posters and making it part of your puppy and kitten parties will make a huge difference to your client and their pets.


  • Corey, a three-year-old Springer Spaniel, had a noise phobia that was getting worse with each fireworks and New Year’s celebration. His owners sought veterinary and behavioural advice and treatment and Corey is now on his way to completely ignoring fireworks, thanks to the commitment from his owners. The specialist behavioural therapy and veterinary treatment cost £950 and is ongoing until Corey is completely stress free. This was all covered under their lifetime policy.
  • A Labrador called Alf took the “treating” a little too literally and helped himself to two bags of treat-size chocolate bars that were meant for trick or treating children. Luckily his owners acted quickly and the out of hours veterinary care ensured that there was no long-lasting organ damage from the chocolate. Alf had to stay in the surgery overnight and was allowed home the next day. His owners put in a direct claim for £320 for this unexpected treatment and the claim was settled within a few days.

Agria has launched a range of innovative solutions to enable your clients to have five weeks’ free pet insurance. Whether you are an AR or otherwise, it’s quick and easily set up and takes less than 90 seconds to get cover for your clients’ pets.

As an integral part of Agria’s new practice development initiative, we have launched Agria life. This is a free bespoke membership programme available to all our partner practices. The programme includes 1,200 hours of free CPD and a number of free practice benefits that you can take advantage of straight away. The whole programme is supported by our dedicated Veterinary Business Development Team.

To register your interest, visit: