Category Archives: Pets and Fireworks

Noise Cancelling Kennel by Ford

FORD TECHNOLOGY IN DEVELOPMENT TO PROTECT YOUR POOCH

It can come as no surprise when I say that almost 50% of all domestic animals, especially dogs, are petrified of loud noises, particularly fireworks. Dog specialist Graeme Hall has been given the pseudonym ‘The Dogfather’ and he highlights that dogs can hear sounds four times further away and sounds too much higher frequencies than the human ear so just because you can’t hear the pyrotechnics, your dog may still be able to.

The technicians at Ford have created microphones inside a specially designed ‘noise cancelling kennel’ which detects firework sounds and changes the frequency inside the kennel to an opposite tone/sound and it also protects the dog against loud bangs or vibrations caused by fireworks cancelling them out.

The original noise cancelling tech is used in the high range vehicles in the Ford range already so the transfer and development of this into something which can genuinely reduce the suffering of pets, can only be a good thing.

If you want more information on how to keep your pet safe and secure around fireworks until this technology becomes available, please check out our blog for full details.

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BONFIRE NIGHT – KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE

Every year, as we approach Bonfire Night as a responsible Firework supplier that the impact on small animals should be addressed before the season starts.

There are a series of simple steps we can all take to help smaller animals and pets stay safe and reduce their anxiety. Here are a few suggestions, as suggested by the RSPCA and Blue Cross animal charities:

• 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 unnecessary
• 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 aviaries/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

There have also been incidences over the last few years where horses have bolted, and in some cases, received serious injury. Again, you should plan ahead:

• Check if there are any firework events planned nearby
• Let organisers know if you have horses stabled in the immediate area to ensure that they set up as far from the field as possible
• Check what time the fireworks are due to start – this is at least the point you can ensure your equine friends are stabled if that is the direction you plan to go
• Check fencing is secure and there is nothing lying in the paddock which could cause injury
• Decide whether your horse (and only you know how they are likely to react) will need to be in the stable or out in the field
• If you are putting your horse in the stables, put a radio on to drown out some of the noise and leave it as well lit as possible (this helps to disguise the flashes from the pyrotechnics which can also frighten horses/pets)
• Check your insurance is up to date as you may be held liable for damage caused in the event your horse escapes.

Above all, remember that Bonfire Night is meant to be fun and has been part of the culture for over 400 years so let’s try to keep it safe for everyone including all our pets and of course ourselves.

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DOGS TRUST – SOUNDS SCARY

Each year, tens of thousands of dog/cats are frightened by fireworks but there are lots of steps that can be taken to help alleviate some of their suffering as supplied by the peeps at Dogs Trust.

Like most animals, loud noises can adversely affect dogs and cats in particular as they have particularly sensitive hearing, but you can certainly do things to help your pets out.

Gun dogs, for example, are not born tolerant of loud noises but are trained and effectively de-sensitised to the sounds by use of the following tips:

Before the fireworks begin:
• Walk your dog before dark – it would appear to be a simple instruction but people tend to walk their dogs later in the evening when the fireworks may have already begun – get the walk in early to avoid distress
• Feed your dog before the fireworks begin as he may become unsettled
• Make sure your house and garden are secure as your pet may try to escape.
• Try to settle your dog in familiar surroundings before the fireworks begin
• Provide a safe hiding place – at noisy times around Bonfire Night, make sure your dog has somewhere safe in his or her favourite room, perhaps under the table. Close the curtains, turn the lights on, and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out the firework noises.
During the fireworks:
• Don’t punish your dog for cowering or reacting to the fireworks as this will intensify his fear. You should aim to remain relaxed and therefore provide a good role model to your dog when he is afraid. However, if your dog comes to you for comfort don’t ignore him – interact with him calmly.
• Don’t leave your dog alone in the house during the fireworks period – he may panic and this could result in an injury.
• Keep your dog busy indoors – play games or enjoy some reward-based training to keep his mind off the noises. However, if he just wants to hide away then don’t force him to come out of his hiding place, allow him to stay where he feels safe.
Longer term treatment:

If you think that your dog gets worried by loud noises, contact your vet to see if there’s an underlying health problem first, and to help you find a qualified behaviourist. Your vet will also be able to discuss whether medication might be helpful.

Programmes of behaviour therapy recommended will vary for each dog, but may include the following elements:
• Establishing a consistent way for your dog to cope. This often involves teaching a dog to use a den to hide when he is worried. This might require you to gradually change your dog’s ‘coping’ response away from one that relies on your attention so that he’s more able to cope with loud noises if they occur when you’re not home.
• Gradually teaching your dog that noises are not scary through a process called ‘desensitisation and counter-conditioning’. This usually involves playing recorded versions of the scary noises but starting at such a low volume that your dog is not worried by them. The volume and direction of sounds are changed over time, but so slowly that your dog does not show any signs of fear. The sounds should also be associated with something that he enjoys, such as high value treats or a game.

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