Category Archives: Pets and Fireworks

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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BONFIRE NIGHT 2017 – STAYING SAFE

As the 2017 BFN season starts to gather momentum, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight some information to help to keep you, your family and pets safe and well.

Here at Epic, we are passionate about using pyrotechnics safely and not to the detriment of the local elderly, a beloved pet or indeed the local wildlife. It would be great if everyone could escape injury
all the time but accidents whether caused by a mishap or sheer foolishness there may be some minor burns to deal with.

Any display which includes fireworks and sparklers, whether it’s a few people at your property or indeed a sizeable crowd, should always have a water source close by. This should include a couple
of buckets of water and a hosepipe which is primed and ready to rock and roll. If someone suffers a burn, it is imperative to take immediate steps to treat the patient to avoid unnecessary pain and
suffering. Begin by running cool clean water over the affected area for at least 10-15 minutes. Follow this treatment by placing a clean damp towel over the burn and seeking medical assistance.

Next on the list; Pets. Now whether this includes your huge German Shepherd or a tiny little Bichon Frise, any animal can react badly to the loud noise, screeches, and whistles created by fireworks.
Data shows that an estimated 45% of all dogs will show signs of fear throughout BFN. However, if you take a few easy and well-timed steps you will reduce your pet’s anxiety making the situation a
great deal less worrying.

1. Hiding place – make sure your pet has somewhere they can hide throughout the BFN season. A cupboard, under the table or another item of furniture, is ideal. Just remember that if your pet has decided to hide out under the table containing your best lead crystal,
make sure to move it to avoid breakages.

2. Walkies – Make sure you walk your pet during daylight hours as this will avoid the additional worry of perhaps being out when the displays begin.

3. Dull the noise – Close curtains, turn the radio or TV on to lessen the noise.

4. Please be sure that your pet is microchipped just on the off chance that they escape so they can be reunited with you.

5. Outdoor pets – Cover small outdoor pet cages with carpet or a cover which will help to dull the noise and put additional bedding in with your rabbit or guinea pig which again will reduce stress.

6. A bonfire just looks like an ideal home exhibition to a small animal so we recommend that you collect all the materials for the Bonfire in a separate place to where it is to be lit so that any ‘visitors’ can escape to safety. Immediately before lighting, we also recommend you go around and prod around the base of the fire again to remove any hedgehogs etc.

Above all, stay safe and enjoy the fireworks safely and keep in mind the animals that need to be taken care of. Have a fantastic BFN and if you need help or advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Firework Safety For Pets

Here at Epic, we are dedicated animal lovers and have our share of cats, dogs and other small animals in our care both at home and the wildlife on site here at Tankersley.  We have quite the menagerie living on site including a family of stoats which go white in winter with a little black tip on their tails, magpies, rabbits, squirrels, hedgehogs and water hens (yes, we have a large pond at the back of the site which plays home to the water hens and a colony of Great Crested Newts).

In a recent conversation with the local representatives of the Cats Protection League, we were horrified to learn of the number of feral kittens that they receive calls about that have been badly burned in Bonfires so it is not just hedgehogs you need to check your Bonfire for.

As in the past, if you are having a Bonfire Night event with a fire to keep everyone warm, please remember to stack the wood and combustible materials beforehand, checking carefully for feral kittens, hedgehogs, mice and rabbits.

This Bonfire Season remember the golden rules:

  • Keep your dog/cat indoors with a drink of water and a deep bed or perhaps an old duvet (in case they foul it) for them to hide in.
  • Walk your dog whilst it is still daylight
  • Put on the TV or radio to drown some of the noise from fireworks
  • Draw curtains or blinds wherever possible to keep the flashes hidden
  • Bring hutches with rabbits or other small mammals inside and cover with a blanket to keep the noise as low as possible and provide extra hay or bedding material for them to burrow in.
  • Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a dog be allowed at a display as even if they are not gun-shy (or do not react to fireworks) and are OK around crowds, a big display could have any number of tiny babies and toddlers that may be distressed and screaming which will upset your pet, particularly if you have children yourself
  • Thundershirt – this is a patented design product which applies constant pressure to a dog’s upper body which has been proven to keep them calm.  If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying one (they range from around £15 for a toy dog to around £50 for a Labrador sized one), if you get a wide crepe bandage (long) and bind your dogs chest area, it lowers anxiety and helps your dog to feel more secure.
  • If your pet is of a particularly anxious nature, you could contact your vet for some DAP or Dog Appeasing Pheromone plug in.  You just plug it in the room where your pets are and leave them to remain calm.

Be mindful of letting your neighbours know if you are having a Bonfire or Fireworks display on a day other than the 5th November so that they can keep their pets in and safe too.

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