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Firework Fear

Most people enjoy bonfire night, all the lovely fireworks and warm flickering fires but for many dog owners the night itself and those leading up to the event are dreaded each year.

Many dogs are absolutely terrified by all the noise and at times it feels as though there is little you can do, as an owner, to help them. This is not strictly true, there are measures you can take to help your dog through this difficult time.

Firstly do not over fuss your petrified pooch, yes I know this is easier to say than actually do but it is important that you try. By making a huge fuss and bother of your dog you are simply letting them know that they are right to be afraid, you are backing up their fear. The same can be said if you show any signs of fear yourself to the fireworks or anger towards all the noise as this just confirms to your dog that if you are emotionally affected by it all then they should be too!

Prior to the lead up to the night, say even as far back as during September, begin to build a little safe haven den for your dog. Pop this den in a room that the dog is familiar with and ensure it is away from all windows. You can use a doggy crate/cage or even a strong cardboard box and drape a blanket over it and place a comfortable cushion or dog bed inside it along with a Kong treat, some toys and a water bowl inside or near the den. By doing this way before the night you are allowing your pooch the opportunity to become used to the den. Encourage your dog to use it and praise when they do.

If you walk you dog normally in the evenings try to bring the time forward as early as you can and do not walk after dark in the days leading up to the night. Try a canine-appeasing pheromone diffuser and plug this in during October and make sure you have a refill ready for November. Try a firework CD, build the volume up gradually so your dog can slowly accept the noise.

High fibre meals will assist to make your pooch sleepy, perhaps a meal of brown rice or pasta served with turkey or white fish and fed during the late afternoon on the 5th of November will help. Play some loud music and pop the volume up on the television, shut all the windows and curtains and relax as if you are worked up your dog will be too. I generally find the loudest film on the television and also pop a radio on in the kitchen as this is where one of my dogs always prefers to sleep on the night. Where your dog goes is where your dog feels comfortable and if that is away from you do not attempt to move them just to be with you as that is for your sake to make you feel better and not really for your dog’s sake.

It is not a good time of the year but try, for your dog’s sake, to relax and remain calm.

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