How to cope with the bonfire/firework season from a pet owner’s point of view. By Tima Lund BSc BEng PGCE
How to keep our pets happy
The firework season is a very trying time for pet owners so rather than making our pets and their owners unhappy during what should be an exciting time there are various ways that we can alleviate some of the stresses of the season. Tima Lund has been raising and looking after pets for the whole of her life and it has always been a challenge to come up with ideas to alleviate anxiety in her animals when the fireworks and bangers start to go off. The following are her practical pieces of advice which may help.
Tima feels that pet owners can do their bit to help their pets be better able to cope with the unpredictable noises of fireworks by doing a selection of things. These are some useful tips they can follow:
· Ensure the puppy has been socialised with these types of noises, using a sound desensitising CD while in the litter with their mum. You can continue this after picking up your pup.
· Make sure while pup is growing up you keep taking it to new and novel places, and gradually increase the noise etc it is able to cope with.
· Once your dog has already started to show signs of stress at sudden noises; there are many things you can do to help.
· These include using a calming diffuser in the room the dogs stays in; like a Pet Remedy one. This is not a drug but a mixture of plants, which have calming properties. You don’t need to worry, it is safe for all animals.
· You can use a ‘thunder shirt’ or a body wrap which wraps the dogs body a bit tight, like old fashioned ways of swaddling babies. For many dogs this helps them stay calmer.
· These two things above can be used for all the time we have firework season, but take care when leaving dogs unattended wearing things, they could get tangled and stuck.
On firework night itself; draw curtains, put music on, play games with your dog to distract it.
Many dogs pant a lot when stressed, this can lead to dehydration, and further stress. Often they refuse food while feeling like this. This is where having a rehydration drink like Oralade can help. It tastes nice, and will help reduce the effect of stress on your dogs body.
Plan in advance, so you are ready to help and step in.
It is much better to prevent this problem from happening, so if you have a chilled dog, don’t assume all will be well forever; I play the ‘sausage game’ with all mine during firework season…it goes like this;
Every time we hear a bang; I rush to the fridge and grab some chopped up cocktail sausages…feed everyone, praise and then sit down again….Keeps my dogs feeling bangs=sausages…therefore lovely not scary.