Suggestions for animals especially dogs with a fear of Fireworks.
Before The Night:
- Desensitise the dog/cat to the sounds of fireworks as early as possible by investing in the Sounds CD which randomly simulates the sounds of fireworks. This can be played quietly and for short periods of time at first and as the weeks go on the volume and the length of time is increased.
- Distraction: while the CD is playing feed, play games or have a training session with the dog or give him a tasty chew.
- Create a Den as far away from the noises of the fireworks as possible but also near to the dogs regular resting place. However, be flexible as some dogs have taken to getting into cupboards or curling up in the bath !!! Work with the dog.
- Buy the DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) collar or plug in and start using it at least 2 weeks before the fireworks and the plug in should be kept switched on permanently. The collar is an added extra and can be put on the dog at the same time as you start the DAP plug in. The equivalent for cats is the Feliway plug in for cats.
On The Night:
- Walk the dog before the fireworks begin so you know they have relieved themselves. For the cats make sure there is a litter tray in the house.
- Feed the dog one hour before the event and as long as the dog is not on a special diet, add some cooked potato or white pasta to the food to help make the dog sleepy and to fill them up.
- Do a safety check of the house to make sure the dog cannot injure themselves if they were to panic, eg, keep away from open fires and glass doors.
- Bring kennelled dogs into the house. If this is not possible then place a blanket over the kennel to protect it from seeing the flashes of the fireworks. Remember that a dog has very sensitive hearing and therefore what is loud noise to us is like a volcano erupting to them! Leave a radio on if possible. Bring cats in to the house so they are safe.
- For indoor dogs, provide them with a den, eg, a cupboard under the stairs or a crate where they can retreat to.
- Try and stay home if you know your dog is fearful of fireworks, BUT, however stressed your dog may be getting DO NOT stroke the dog or talk to it as you are simply praising the fearful behaviour and this will make matters worst. ALSO do not allow your dog/cat to see you are concerned as they will feed off your anxiousness.
I suggest if owners are feeling concerned then have a glass of wine or whisky themselves!!!
- Keep curtains and windows closed as this will help to keep the flashes out of site and help dull the sound of the fireworks. Distract the dog with a training session, a game or tricks and have the television on or music playing.
- Keep the dogs collar on with owner surname, number or name of your house, postcode and contact number and your vets number as it has been known for dogs to take flight during the firework season and even dogs who have previously shown know fear can disappear if frightened.
- Horses, Goats etc, try to keep them shut in a stable with a radio on.
- In the event of severe problems then owners should seek veterinary advice or the help of a qualified canine or animal behaviourist.
- For anxiousness, excitability and travel sickness owners could try scullcap and valerian tablets. www.dorwest.com not for pregnant or lactating females.