With Guy Fawkes night looming and the winter nights drawing in we thought we would highlight this by passing on some advice about keeping our dogs calm and relaxed as fireworks brighten our skies over the coast.
Many pet owners dread the beginning of autumn as it marks the run up to the fireworks period once again. Despite recent laws being passed to restrict the use of fireworks, thoughtless people still manage to cause trouble for their neighbours by letting off fireworks indiscriminately in the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night.
Here are some ideas for ways you can make life easier if your pets are noise sensitive;
Create a safe zone for your dog or cat – provide comfy bedding and places to hide, ideally in a room without too many windows. Encourage your pet to spend time in there – feed them there and build as many positive associations as you can.
Make sure there is a TV or stereo in the room so you can have some noise on as a distraction.
Plug in a Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats) diffuser at least a fortnight before the beginning of November, to give it time to take effect. You may want to use an Adaptil collar as well.
Teach your pet to relax. When you see them laid down quietly, go over and reward them. Try to associate the feeling with a word, such as RELAX or CALM. If you can do it without disturbing them, stroke them gently, long sweeping strokes from shoulders to tail. Remember, short, fast movements are energising and long, slow strokes are relaxing. Don’t lean over them or push them out of the way but just sit or lie quietly beside them.
On nights when the noises get bad, retreat to the safe zone. Make sure there are at least 2 closed doors between your pet and the outside of your house and if you need to let dogs out, take them out on the lead. Many dog owners have spent the week after bonfire night searching for their dog who bolted in the middle of the night when a firework went off too close to the house. Lock the cat flap and keep your cat inside with you. If you have animals living in hutches outside, cover the front or move hutches into a garage or shed.
Have music or the TV on to drown out noises from outside the house and close the curtains on any windows so that your pet is not startled by flashes.
Remedies such as Dorwest Herbs’ Organic Valerian drops can be beneficial and act quickly to provide additional calming.