Many animals find the firework season very scary, and it is estimated that 45% of dogs in the UK show sign of fear when they hear them. Dogs can hear at four times the distance of humans as well as at a much higher frequency – in addition to the noise being louder than for humans they will also not be able to recognise the source of the sound which can result in fear and anxiety.
Some breeds do have a higher disposition to noise phobias and not all dogs are affected by the firework season.
You can tell if your pet is experiencing anxiety if it is exhibiting one or more of these symptoms – cowering, excessive alertness and hyper- vigilance, clinging, hiding, lip licking, pacing or restlessness, panting, refusing to eat or whining and barking.
There are though simple actions that you can take to help your pet feel calm on bonfire night.
Before the season starts, provide your pet with a doggy safe haven. This could be a quiet area in one of the quietest areas of your home, try not to interfere with your dog when your dog is in that area so that they feel in control of their space.
Train your dog to think of this as a positive experience, leave favourite toys there without imposing at any time. In time your dog will learn to associate this place as being a safe haven. Let your dog stay in the safe haven for a few days before bonfire night, and ensure you are around too so that your dog doesn’t feel alone.
Walk your dog before the fireworks start and avoid times when the fireworks are likely to be set off.
Close windows and curtains as this will muffle the sound of fireworks, and black out the ‘doggy safe haven’ so that they can’t see any flashes from outside – put on some music or the TV.
You could also talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers, these are calming chemicals that can be infused into the room – in some cases the vet may even prescribe medication – sometimes this may be long term solution rather than just a quick fix for fireworks. The smell of cordite in fireworks can be equally as distressing as flashes and noises, so find some way to cover this.
Vets also sell body wraps, these apply gentle ‘swaddling’ pressure evenly to your pets body, which can help them keep calm –
Cats, can also be afraid of fireworks , don’t try to tempt them to go outside as this can make them more stressed, and better if they have been microchipped in case they are startled and escape outside.
By taking these sensible precautions in advance you will ensure that your pets enjoy a much more relaxing bonfire night, which in turn will ensure you feel more relaxed too.
W: www.davidphillip.co.uk A: David Phillip Estate Agents, 86, Leeds Road, Bramhope, Leeds