As October nears an end, pet owners across the country prepare for the ever stressful holiday that is Halloween. While this is a holiday enjoyed by children and adults alike, for our furry friends, however, fireworks often cause serious stress and panic.
The explosions of noise and light can be a time of trauma for many dogs and cats, even a mile or two away.
Unfortunately, fireworks being set off are not limited to one night, but rather the weeks coming up to the 31st as well. Not only are these noises scary and unfamiliar, but they can be deafening for sensitive animal ears.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to try flee during fireworks to seek safety which can end up with them getting lost and into dangerous situations.
Here’s a list of ways that you can help your pups stay calm during this time:
1) Give your dog a safe space. If your dog is crate trained, a crate with soft blankets is a perfect way to give your anxious dog a sense of security. Leave the door open so he can come in and out as he pleases. An extra blanket to cover the cage will block out some of the sounds and feel extra cosy. If he’s not crate trained, putting his bed in an area that’s quiet and calm can help. My own pack love to snuggle up together in the box room with their beds and blankets.
2) If your dog is a playful pup, be sure to distract them with fun things to do. Toys with treats in them will keep their attention for a while. Rewards are a good way to show them they’re doing so well during this unpleasant time and that they’re a good dog! Sometimes teddy bears can be comforting too!
3) Have windows and curtains shut to minimize the sound. Keep the lights on so the light from the fireworks doesn’t seem as bad. If you aren’t able to be there, leaving a TV, radio or soothing music on will make him feel as though he’s not alone.
4) Lavender has powerful calming, soothing effects on the brain and is a great oil for calming dogs. Dilute a few drops of the essential oil in water and burn it in a diffuser (make sure it’s well out of your dog’s reach), or rub it on his bedding or coat. Do not use essential oils around cats!
5) Flower essences are also known to help calm an agitated animal. Try rubbing some Bach Rescue Remedy on his ears or paws, or putting a few drops in his water. Consult your vet if your dog has any health problems or is taking any medication before giving remedies to help him cope with fireworks night, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
6) Make sure your pets have up-to-date ID and are microchipped, in the event that they do get out.
7) If your dog is very anxious around loud noises, there are two canine wraps on the market that reportedly help sound phobic dogs.
The original Anxiety Wrap uses acupressure and maintained pressure to reduce stress.
The thundershirt provides gentle, constant pressure. Their website reports that over 85% of Thundershirt users see significant improvement in noise anxiety symptoms.
8) Depending on the dog, he may just want to be near you. My own cairn loves nothing more than to cuddle up on a lap during fireworks and thunderstorms. Don’t force your dog to come out though. Let him hide if he wants to, just stay near him and talk to him in a soothing voice.
9) The most important thing you can do is stay calm. If you panic and make a fuss, your dog will sense this and feel as though something is wrong and that there is, in fact, a cause for panic.
For more information on anxious dogs and natural ways to treat their anxiety visit https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/natural-help-anxiety/.
Have a happy and safe Halloween from Pawtrait Ireland.
Bow-wow for now!