Prepare Your Pet for Fireworks - The 5 Do'
We are approaching that time of the year again when pets are exposed to the unpredictable loud bangs and flashes of fireworks. Pets simply don't understand what's going on and many are really scared of the whole process. And, unfortunately, they are now subjected to this on a more frequent basis – it's no longer a once a year event.
If you know your dog or cat is scared of fireworks, or think he might be, or if you have a puppy or kitten.
NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE!
Create a safe, comfortable and quiet den area for him. Ideally, this should be in a place which is furthest from the fireworks, and where he is used to resting. The room should be able to be darkened to hide the firework flashes.
Prepare the area in advance, with lots of comfy blankets to allow him to burrow into if he wants to, and take him there several times before the event, allowing him to settle there with a chew or toy for a while, and feed him there a few times too.
Make sure however, that he is free to come and go to this area, taking care not to lock him in the room alone.
Some pets find the most unusual place to seek comfort. It has been known for them to hide under desks, in kitchen cabinets and even in the bath! Don't be concerned about this, just work with your pet and think about how they may be finding their chosen place secure. It may even be helpful to provide a pet crate covered with a blanket or a large cardboard box, both filled with comfortable bedding, favourite toys and some water.
So, really take some time to think about this – from your pet's point of view - and set up the area where they are most happy. Perhaps they might like to lie under a table covered with a blanket.
Feliway is a similar product for cats.
Check that the den area is accessible, and prepared.
Take your dog for a walk to make sure he has been to the toilet before the fireworks start.
Feed him an hour before the event, adding some potato or white pasta to fill him up and make him sleepy
If you can, set up some rhythmic music in the room. This can help to mask out the noise, so turn it up to a moderate level. Do, however, check that he likes it beforehand – and turn it off if he doesn't, or seems more stressed.
When the fireworks start, take your pet to his den area and encourage him to settle there.
Do NOT try to pat and stroke him in an attempt to sooth him if he is showing signs of stress. This simply rewards how he is behaving and teaches him that he's right to be scared. Don't let him know that you're concerned.
Instead, if he's not settling in his den, try to distract him with a game or an easy training session, but don't force him to play.
You may even want to consider setting up a TV in the “safe” room and simply sitting in there with him. Normal quiet, family company may help to calm him.
And a word on safety
Further information :
who can supply these and also, supply further information on various complementary therapies which may help. If you need further assistance, please contact your vet or a Pet Behaviour Therapist.
This behavioural help sheet has been prepared by The Canine Therapy Centre and Pawsability , Members of the Scottish Network of Animal Professionals