It’s coming up to the time of year where there are lots of fireworks around. The nights are darker and the reasons to set them off become more frequent which is great for us as it means that we have more of an excuse to go out and enjoy them. However it’s important to remember that most of your pets don’t enjoy them because they don’t understand what is going on. Bonfire night can be a stressful time for your pet, as well as you while struggle to cope with their stress. It doesn’t have to be this way with some planning and preparation both you and your pet can have a stress free holiday season. Come and see us and we will do our best to advise you on how best to help you and your pet cope. If you are not sure if your dog requires any help with their stress why not spend a moment and take this test and see how your dog does. In the meantime to make firework celebrations less frightening for your pet why not try these simple tips to help your pet stay calm.
- Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if they want to and they have access to this place at all times. For example this could be under some furniture or in a cupboard.
- Walk your dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.
- At night close windows and curtains and put on music to hide and muffle the sound of fireworks.
- If your pet shows any signs of agitation try to ignore this behaviour. Leave them alone unless they are likely to harm themselves. Never punish or fuss over your pet when it’s scared as this will only compound the problem.
- Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Have your pet micro chipped in case they do escape.
To help your dog
Talk to your vet about DAP diffusers. These disperse calming pheromones into the room these create a calming effect for your dog, in some cases your vet may even prescribe medication to help reduce the stress to your dog. If either of these options is used they should be used in conjunction with behavioural therapy. We would recommend asking your vet to refer you to a behaviourist or using the ‘Sounds Scary’ therapy pack.
Before the firework season starts provide your dog with a doggy safe haven, this should be a quiet area so choose one of the quietest rooms in your home. It should be a place where the animal feels it is in control, so don’t interfere with it when it’s in that area.( for more information on creating a doggy safe haven click here –>Preparing a hiding place) So when fireworks happen it may choose to go here because it knows that when it is here, no harm will come to it and so it’s more able to cope. It is important that your dog has access to its doggy safe haven at all times even when you’re not at home.
When the fireworks start
- Close any windows and black out the ‘doggy play area’ to remove any extra problems caused by flashing lights.
- Each evening before the fireworks begin, move your dog to the safe area and provide toys and other things that they enjoy. Make sure that there are things for you to do too so that your dog isn’t left alone.
- If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises and which gets on well with your dog, then keeping the two together during the evenings may help your dog to realise that there’s no need to be afraid.
In the long term your dog needs to learn to be less afraid of loud noises. With proper treatment this is possible so that the next firework season will be less stressful for you and your dog.
Sounds Scary is an easy to follow therapy pack for dogs which includes a specially made set of high quality sound recordings and an easy to follow guide. The amount of training needed will vary from dog to dog so owners should start training with the Sounds Scary pack well in advance of firework seasons. Visit Sound Therapy 4 Pets for more information and to download the therapy pack or pop into the practice to pick up a cd.
Just for cats
- Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if it wants to. For example this may be under some furniture or in a quiet corner.
- Don’t try and tempt your cat out as this will cause it to become more stressed.
Don’t forget small animals
- If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out.
- Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.