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 with 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 plugin should be used 24-hours a day for 2-weeks before BFN.
There are of course some homoeopathic 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.