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Bonfire night is almost here! Is your pet afraid of fireworks?

Dogs 16 - Bonfire night is almost here Is your pet afraid of fireworks

Fireworks season is upon us and although this is a time of great fun for us, it can cause a lot of fear and stress to our pets. Some dogs are absolutely terrified of those loud, sudden bangs and it is truly heart-breaking to see them hiding, shaking and cowering underneath the furniture!

The best way to help your pet if he or she suffers with this type of phobia is to start addressing the problem before fireworks season begins. Please remember that most therapies can take some time to become effective.

Sound therapy CDs can work very well for mild phobias in adult dogs. These CDs can help dogs become desensitised and overcome their fear of loud noises.

Pets suffering from a moderate to severe phobia may benefit from medication that can be prescribed by your veterinary surgeon. For long term treatment, it is recommended to resort to a qualified pet behaviourist.

This problem has very serious consequences. It is very common for dogs to run off in fear and end up lost in the middle of all the ruckus. A pet insurance company has revealed in a recent article that 35% more dogs are reported missing on this night than any other of the year. Given these statistics it is very important for owners to take steps to ensure their pets remain safe at their homes.

If your pet is not microchipped yet this is a very good time to consider it. If your pet is already chipped please make sure all your details are all up to date with the microchipping company. Hundreds of lost pet are never returned to their owners due to lack of identification or because the details in the microchip database are incorrect or not up to date.

Since Bonfire Night is upon us, here are a few tips that can help your pet go through this stressful time:

  • Walk you pet during the day and before the event.

  • Provide a den or a covered area with comfortable bedding for your pet to snuggle into, where he or she can hide and feel safe. If possible, it should be somewhere that is protected from outside noise.

  • Keep the doors and windows closed.

  • Use background noise to distract them - leave the TV or the radio on.

  • Try to occupy your pet with games, toys and treats.

  • Try not to react on the noises yourself as the dog may react on your behaviour. Acting normally will help reduce its anxiety.

  • There are products that may help your pet feel more calm and relaxed such as pheromone diffusersor Thundershirts/Thundercaps that work by applying gentle pressure to make the pet feel safe and secure.

The most effective way to prevent a dog from ever developing this fear is to expose puppies to these types of noises at a young age in a comfortable, safe and controlled environment.

Have a great Bonfire Night and keep your pet safe!

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Published: 26 Sep 2014

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