With firework season underway it can be difficult for a lot of our fluffy patients and isn’t much fun at all. So we have put together some tips to help keep them calmer this year.
- Create a den for your pet if they don’t already have one!
- The den should be in a relatively quiet and central part of the house, preferably with as few windows as possible
- The den can be made from table or crate covered with blankets, sheets or towels
- Fill the den with comfy bedding, toys, food and water. Plug in an ADAPTIL® or FELIWAY® diffuser as close to the den as possible
- The den MUST be accessible 24-hours a day and ensure they are never locked in
- Start taking your pet there a couple of times a day well in advance of bonfire night. Ask them to sit or lie down and use the word ‘relax’ whilst stroking them and feeding high rewarding treats
- Slowly increase the time spent in the den and reduce the amount of human interaction (to prevent them from becoming entirely dependent on us!)
On the night:
- Take your dog for a long walk well before dark
- Keep cats and bunnies indoors and lock any cat flaps
- Add some rice or potatoes to their dinner to help make them sleepier
- Lead your pet to their den and settle them down with a loaded kong toy or tasty chew
- Turn on music or the TV ONLY if your dog is used to this
- Do not smother your pet with attention – huddling in a pack is something they would do in the wild to protect themselves from danger. We want to teach our pets that fireworks are not a threat to their lives! However, if your pet seeks you out for attention then slow rhythmical pats at arms length can help reassure them
- Make sure you remain calm, focus on your tone of voice and ensure that your body language is relaxed
On the right is Trixie, who belongs to our vet Amelia. Trixie is nine years old and she only very recently became afraid of loud noises. She has had problems with her hips and knees which has been showing a lot more recently too.
It has been documented that pain is one of the top reasons our older pets show a heightened response to noise. Extra pain relief and lots of den training has helped Trixie cope 10 times better with fireworks and thunderstorms
So start early! Get the den prepared and teach your pooch how to use it.
Side note – it is possible to try and ‘desensitise’ your pet by using special recordings of fireworks although this needs to be done well before the season starts.