**Keep Your Pets Safe**
Fireworks are no longer just seen and heard just on bonfire night any more. This can make life very difficult for owners of nervous and firework phobic dogs. Your aim should always be to get through any firework event with the least fear and stress for your dog.
Most important of all is to provide a refuse which your dog sees as a safe place to go to. This may be under a bed, a small room or a crate. Where possible the refuse should be situated in the center of the home where there are few windows or a crate covered with a thick blanket. This safe area should be available to your dog at all times and you should encourage them to use it often, by giving them a chew or meal in it. Do also supply plenty of bedding for digging and hiding in. You may also consider purchasing an adaptil diffuser for the room.
As well as creating a safe area, the following tips should be considered during firework season.
- Walk your dog early before fireworks start.
- Try to go for a long brisk walk before fireworks so your dog is more likely to sleep.
- Feed a large carbohydrate rich meal before fireworks start as this will give your dog a full and sleepy feeling.
- Draw all curtains / blinds.
- Do have a television or radio playing in the background, but no louder than is usual.
- Do check that your dog is wearing a correctly fitted collar and tag in case he panics and escapes.
- Do chat with neighbors about any planed firework parties that they may be planning.
When the fireworks begin
Make sure that your dog has access to his refuse. If he is not too upset, play a game or give him a chew to help distract him from the noise. Do let him hide in the safe place that you have prepared. Try to carry on as usual as though nothing is happening - this includes not looking out of the window! If he seeks reassurance do allow him to sit on your feet or have a fuss.
If you are familiar with Tellington TTouch do use your skill to help calm your companion.
If you find that your dog is particularly nervous, plan ahead for next year.
Planning for next year
Desensitization with a sound CD is often suggested as treatment for sound sensitive dogs. Do discuss this in detail with your behaviourist. This is not a quick fix and can take months, so it is best to start the process well in advance of firework season.
There are many products available to help calm pets. It is a case of trial and error as their is not one product the works for all. We have seen positive effects from Thunder shirts, homeopathic remedies such as skullcap and valerian and nutraceuticals such as Nutracalm. In sever cases your Vet may prescribe stronger drugs which will not eradicate the problem completely, but can help in the short term.