Archive for the ‘Pets and Fireworks’ Category
Fireworks are enjoyed year-round by people, but can be a source of fear to many animals. This is not necessarily something which has to cause problems for the pet owner provided they take some precautions in respect to finding them somewhere they feel safe.
Ensuring that your pet has somewhere to hide and that more importantly they have access to this area at all times is imperative. Whilst this ‘Den’ could be a cupboard or under the kitchen table or bed, let the animal choose wherever possible and let them have their favourite toy or blanket too as this will add to the security. If you are going out to a display, just ensure that all curtains, blinds and doors to lessen the impact of the noise and lights.
Watch for signs of stress as dogs may tremble, pace, pant and become very needy for attention which could be completely out of character. Cats usually hide (sometimes in the most inappropriate place) but this is their coping strategy. Leave them alone with a means of escape of course provided that the hiding place will not add to the danger (cats have been known to hide behind fires, up chimney’s and under floor-boards).
If your display is going to be in your own garden area, you could consider going for quieter firework selections to lessen the impact and again, try to keep them inside and out of the way of the children and other visitors as animals can be very unpredictable when they are afraid.
There are also some natty devices and recommendations made from the RSPCA and associated animal charities which will be happy to offer full help and assistance to anyone who has an anxious pet.
Sounds scary – In the long-term, your dog needs to learn to be less afraid of noises and therefore may benefit from a treatment offered by the RSPCA called sounds scary. It’s a CD based therapy to lessen the impact of noise on animals as it incorporates the sounds of crowds, trains, planes, cars and much more. They recommend playing the CD on low to start with whilst you carry on with your normal chores around the home. It is best not to make a fuss even if your pet does react as they take their lead from your reaction. Daily, the volume should be increased until the dog barely acknowledges the noise any longer.
One of the most popular intervention therapy forms used is the DAP or Dog Appeasing Pheromone. This is a highly effective animal scent which humans cannot detect but is the same as the smell created by nursing dogs for their puppies and the plug in should be used 24-hours a day for 2-weeks before BFN.
There are of course some homeopathic remedies too and one of the most popular are the Bach Flower Remedies. They should be added to drinking water for a day or two before BFN for best effect – Contact your local Bach Remedy consultant for more details on which will best suit your needs for your pet. They can be used on all animals including dogs, cats and importantly horses and small animals too.
Finally, a product which we have discussed before – the Thundershirt. This brilliant product uses gentle, constant pressure to calm your dog, effectively aiding anxiety, fearfulness, barking and more with an 80% success rate. Costing around £30.00 for cats and dogs, it can also be used when visiting the Vet to lower anxiety. Details can again be found at most quality pet stores.
If you need help or advice on which of the Epic line are best suited to pet owners, please get in touch. Alternatively, there is some help and advice available to pet owners via the following link: http://www.dogsandfireworks.com/
Bonfire Night and Diwali is a great event for all the family but when it comes to pets, irrespective of whether you believe that they are not affected by them or not, you would be best advised to keep them indoors.
Here at Epic, we have an 11 year old German Shepherd who has heard fireworks since he was a pup (at work etc) but we still take the necessary steps on Bonfire Night as it is even a disturbing time for him.
It can be a very frightening time for pets and it is not only the noise levels, as there will be children squealing as well as the screeches and reports on the fireworks for them to contend with. It is a very confusing time for dogs in particular as their hearing is supersensitive. That said, smaller animals like cats, mice, gerbils, ferrets and rabbits will also be affected.
Over the years, there have been a number of things created to help to address this issue. Here are some simple tips to protect your pets:
• Keep cats and dogs inside
• Under no circumstances should you leave your pet tied up outside or take them along to a display – this is cruel and un-necessary
• Don’t leave your pet alone for too long
• Give them more bedding to burrow in – they will feel more secure
• Bring cages/hutches indoors – into a quiet room, shed or garage. If this is not feasible, cover their cages over or turn them into a wall if they face the garden
• Cover any avaries/hutches with thick blankets or a duvet to block the sound of the fireworks out
• Make sure you walk your dog early doors – bear in mind that from darkness falling, there will be any number of fireworks around so you will reduce your dog’s stress levels
• Close all curtains, doors and close any cat/dog flaps to stop pets escaping to avoid the noise – they may disappear for good
• If your pet is used to having the noise of the TV, radio or music around, put them on to drown out some of the firework sounds
• Prepare a den perhaps under your bed with some old clothes and their favourite toys – it will help to keep them calm
• Let your dog/cat pace, whine, miaow or bark – if you try to comfort them, you may add to their distress
If you have a horse or pony, make sure you let any local Committee’s know, keep them in a familiar environment and if you know that your Horse reacts badly to noise, you may be as well arranging some stabling away from any possible noise for the night.
If you have a particularly anxious pet, you should speak to your vet about treatments that can help. Both traditional and homeopathic remedies such as Flower Essences and other natural products are available, and have been found to be very useful in many cases. It is important that you discuss any treatments with your vet before using them.
If you are having a Bonfire with your fireworks display, make sure that there are no animals hiding before lighting by tapping and poking into the pre-lit fire gently. Hedgehogs in particular when they are looking for shelter for the Winter Hibernation will make a home in a warm compost heap so the inviting pile of rubbish and wood will be just the thing. We don’t want to be hurting Mrs Tiggywinkle now do we.
Here are some animal support charities who can offer advice or assistance to you this Bonfire Night and Diwali:
Blue Cross For Pets - http://www.bluecross.org.uk/1752-3018/keeping-your-pets-safe-on-fireworks-night.html
Pets During Diwali and Bonfire Night - http://www.animalfriends.org.uk/blog/pets-during-diwali-and-bonfire-night/2573/
Soundproof Dog Kennel – http://epicfireworks.com/blog/2012/04/soundproof-dog-kennel-protecting-your-pooch-this-4th-july/
We at Epic are all animal friendly and as many of you know, Bruce, the German Shepherd is one of the team, but more importantly, one of the family. It is therefore always something of interest when a product comes onto the market to protect our furry friends from firework fear.
The latest product is the ‘Scared Dog Audio Program’ which states that it can help your dog overcome fears and phobias to more than 40 different environmental noises. For example:
• Lawn mower
• Car alarm
• General household items – washer, hoover, hair-dryer
The premise of the product is de-sensitization ultimately as the instructions are to ‘play the audio at a very low volume that is barely audible to you’. This will allow your dog to hear the audio without being started or afraid. However, you should not leave your dog alone when introducing this training/de-sensitization program.
From the outset, you should play the sound in short intervals and continue to entertain, praise and treat your dog. Remember that exercise releases endorphins in dogs, just like humans and therefore reduces nervousness, stress and anxiety.
If you slowly increase the audio length and sound over a period of time, you will notice that the dog appears less fearful. On occasion however, your dog may show signs of distress. DON’T sympathise. Instead, reward with verbal and stimulating praise like playing with special toys or giving special treats as you are looking to get your dog to associate loud noise with positive things.
Be sure to play the audio in different areas of the home so that the dog doesn’t associate the fear with a set place.
The end product should be a happy dog which is no longer fearful of loud noise and if done correctly, will improve your dogs ‘temperament as they will simply treat the noise with indifference.
Creator, Amy Morford who is a dog training specialist with 15 years experience in training Companion Dogs, Sports and Working Breeds.
Here are a few more blog posts on how to protect your pet:
Thundershirts Are Go – http://epicfireworks.com/blog/2012/05/thundershirts-are-go/
Herbal Remedies For Dogs – http://epicfireworks.com/blog/2009/10/3685/