Remember, Remember The 5th Of November!
Bonfire night is approaching, and many of us look forward to a bonfire and firework display to mark the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and the doings of the infamous Guy Fawkes. Hot drinks on a cold evening, wrapped up warm as toast, feeling the heat on your face from the fire, and admiring the colourful and noisy firework display?
Great fun for you, but what about the thousands of dogs and cats out there that are afraid of fireworks and all noises that go with them?
It can be a real problem, particularly if the firework 'season' seems to go on for weeks in your area. We can help with some helpful advice, and see below on ways to save money too!
What can you do to reduce the fear?
- Prepare early! Take your dog out for plenty of exercise before the fireworks start, and make sure they are fed. A tired, well fed dog will be far less anxious during the night.
- If you can, stay at home with your pet.
- Relax! Be cheerful and in control, encourage calm behaviour with
praise and attention. In some cases too much fuss or comforting of a frightened dog will only increase the problem!
- Close curtains and blinds, put the tv/radio on and distract your dogs with games and food.
- Give a dog a bone! (... or some other chewable object). Chewing can help relieve anxiety. Some toys are designed to be
stuffed with food, which requires a bit of effort on the dogs part to get the reward. This gives your dog something else to think about rather than
the banging of the fireworks.
- Keep your pet indoors. It is important
at times of stress that they feel safe in a familiar environment.
- Consider a body wrap! The idea
behind this technique has been around for many years ('swaddling' where a baby is firmly wrapped in a blanket, similar techniques are used with autistic children). There are body wraps
available to purchase but you can use a t-shirt! Put it on your dog with the front facing up & the front legs through the arm holes (would be back to front on
us). Gather the
material by pulling both sides up towards your dogs back to fit snugly, and secure with a knot or rubber band on top of
your dog. Snug but not tight! Take care not to cause discomfort and check the fit regularly.
- Cats should be kept indoors. Most cats will find somewhere dark to hide if they are frightened. Just leave them alone until they decide to come out themselves.
- Rabbits and other caged animals should be safely secured in a garage or outbuilding,away from sight and sound of fireworks. If you have nowhere outside, bring them indoors for the evening until all fireworks have finished.
- Make sure that your pet cannot escape from your house. Many dogs go missing through being frightened. Is your dog/cat identichipped?
Are there any good medications or products that may help?
- Some animals may benefit from selected herbal remedies or other non medicinal supplements. One very new product is showing particular promise. Available 'over the counter'.
- Consider using a great product which releases naturally occurring and relaxing pheromones. Clinical trials show an 80% improvement in signs of panting, trembling,
cowering and hiding as displayed by most firework sensitive dogs. Available 'over the counter'.
- Some dogs may benefit from stronger prescription medicines to reduce anxiety. This requires a check up and examination with a vet.
Contact us for advice, further information or an appointment if required.
Save money too! For the firework season, we are delighted to offer subscribers to our small animal e-mail newsletter a 20% discount on our preferred products for firework anxiety, (includes DAP diffuser, refills & collars, Zylkene capsules, and Feliway diffuser and Feliway spray)
Not a subscriber yet? Click here!
Don't forget the wildlife!
- At this time of year some animals want to go into hibernation (for example hedgehogs, slow worms and grass snakes). The unlit bonfire gives shelter from wind and rain for a few days..... until they are suddenly burned to death on the 5th of November when the fire is started....... A grim thought. Is YOUR conscience clear?
- Build your bonfire at the last minute. It is incredibly tempting to begin piling wood up early but store it somewhere and move into place on the day. It won't take long and could save many creatures' lives.