Here are six top tips for Banbury area pet owners on how to help their dog through the stress of the first fireworks displays in two years
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Treat Your Dog's expert Heather Hiley offers the following advice through the Banbury Guardian. However if you think your pet needs medicinal calming, please contact your veterinary surgery.
Whether you’ve had your dog for a long time or you are one of the many people to have adopted a pandemic puppy, this advice will save you a lot of stress and worry about your family pet. Many dogs suffer badly on fireworks nights but there are ways you can help.
Tip 1 - Mask the noises and sounds - Keeping the curtains and windows closed can help to lower the effects of the sounds and visuals of the fireworks on your dog. It is also important to mask the noises with calmer sounds, such as the TV, radio or even calming audio for dogs. If you decide to go out to a fireworks display, you must leave your dog at home and make sure you keep the TV, radio or calming audio on.
Tip 2 - Distraction - Sometimes your dog can be easily distracted from the fireworks with a food puzzle. Some challenging food puzzle toys can keep your dog distracted for a couple of hours whilst they dig for whatever treats or food you decide to reward them with. This will distract them long enough for the fireworks display to take its course. This can encourage your dog to focus on something more positive to create a calmer environment. Speaking calmly will give your dog assurance.
Tip 3 - Desensitisation and sound familiarisation - A helpful method is to train your dog to be desensitised towards distressing sounds. Using training sounds can help to ease your dog into becoming familiar with the sounds associated with distressing situations such as fireworks.
Tip 4 - Build a safe space. Sometimes allowing your dog to hide and feel safe is the best way to calm them down. Forcing your dog out of their safe space can increase their stress and cause further discomfort. Even if their safe space is behind the sofa, giving your dog the space they need can help. DO NOT restrict your dog to a single room, if they do not want to be in that room, they will become even more uncomfortable. Let them choose their safe space. A further tip - add an item of your worn clothing to their safe space. The familiarity of your scent can help to calm them down.
Tip 5 - Ensure they are microchipped/wearing a tag - In the unfortunate situation that your dog makes a run for it due to its high levels of stress, your dog must be microchipped and wearing a tag. This will allow you to find your dog easily and make sure that they are safe. However, following our tips above will significantly decrease the chances of your dog running away.
Tip 6 - Pandemic Puppies. With most large fireworks events cancelled during lockdown 2 in 2021, this is the first year since the pandemic that local firework displays will be back up and running. Throughout the pandemic, we saw a spike of dog owners and many of you may not have experienced a loud fireworks display since you increased the size of your family with your furry friend.
If you live close to a big display, pay extra caution as the volume and significance of the fireworks will take a bigger toll on your dog. You can purchase a pet remedy survival kit from Treatyourdog.co.uk. It is advisable to contact your vet if you believe your animal might be especially frightened.
Ms Hiley said: “It is important that we show our dogs the care and love that they show us. With the spike in dog owners, especially puppies, throughout the pandemic, many new owners haven’t seen how much fireworks can affect their dog.
"Stress can increase dramatically for dogs and being ready and prepared can make all the difference. So microchip your dogs, allow them a safe space, distract them and if you can train them to become desensitised to the volume, then you and your dog will be able to enjoy fireworks night to the full. Our de-stress products will also help owners to make sure their dogs are safe whilst allowing themselves to enjoy the fireworks and celebrations at the same time.”