So the fireworks are nearly upon us, hopefully you've read part one and prepared yourselves by embarking on training, having an action plan or setting up a safe-den for your pet. Unfortunately firework season doesn’t just mean one of two nights of displays, the increase in firework sales has led to more and more people having them and generally the 'bonfire' period starts about now. So to keep your house happy here’s some more information on what to do.
To go in your safe den there's a new product on the market that I shall be trying in my house this year which is Pet Remedy Plug in Diffuser. This contains a special blend of valerian and other calming essential oils into the surrounding area; with a number of positive reviews this product has been proven to help settle all mammals, especially dogs, cats, birds and horses. Plug in near the safe den or stable, hang the travel diffuser card in your pet’s hutch and car or put a few drops directly onto the bed, with refills available this is sure to be valued product.
What to do on the nightMake sure that you don’t forget about your outside animals. Bring in or cover up hutches, close stables, lock cat flaps and take your dogs out for the evening walk before dark.
It is advisable to give dogs their normal evening meal before dusk; some people may give some additional starchy carbs such as pasta.
DO stay calm and DON'T change your behaviour.
Most people feel obligated to reassure their dogs when it is exhibiting signs of fear or anxiety. Most people will cuddle their dog or fuss over them and instead of making your dog feel better this type of attention is actually showing reward for the fearful behaviour and as a result it reinforces their fear reaction and will in fact make the problem worse next time.
DO try to remain neutral during the fireworks and DON'T act differently. If you anticipate of your dog’s reaction to fireworks in a negative way your dog will pick up on your mood and emotions. If you appear tense when you hear and see fireworks because you are worrying about your dogs’ reaction, you may make their fear worse. Be aware of your body language, your dog needs to know that there is no reason to be afraid
DO put on some music or turn up the volume on the television set.
This can help to drown out the sound of the fireworks. Close the windows and doors to help muffle the sound
DON'T disturb your pets if they are hidingIf your pet attempts to hide or find a safe place under a bed or in a cupboard don’t be tempted to interrupt their instinctual need to find a safe place. Do not try to remove them from their safe place or force them out in an effort to show them that there is nothing to worry about. A frightened dog is only one step away from fear aggression so don’t push them past their comfort zone or you may get bitten or scratched out of sheer panic.
The Signs of Stress
It is important that you can recognise the signs of stress and so you can ignore them:
· Dogs panting, salivation, sweaty paws, whining & barking for no apparent reason, lip licking, yawning, sneezing, shaking & shivering or trembling, hyperactive or restless, hiding, glazed eyes, seemingly naughty & unable to concentrate on commands, be defensive or destructive, tail chasing or rolling over in a bid to displace anxiety, loss of appetite, growling, aggression or diarrhoea.
· Cats scratching or destructiveness, urine spraying, aggression, anorexia or over-eating, over-grooming, house soiling, hiding & appearing withdrawn, decreased levels of activity
· Birds Depression, moodiness or irritability, feather plucking, increased pecking or elimination, ruffled feathers, abnormal vocalisation
· Rabbits eyes enlarged & show whites, tense body with tail up, ears laid back tightly, growling or squeaking, lack of vitality or interest, rapid breathing, biting or flinching.
· Horses whinnying, swaying, crib biting, pacing, sweating, anorexia, head bobbing