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Pets face fireworks misery this bonfire night!

02 Nov Pets face fireworks misery this bonfire night!

As Bonfire Night approaches, pet owners may find themselves more stressed than excited by the prospect. Experts suggest that this firework season may be specifically hard for those pups that were raised during lockdown, as recent studies found that 15% UK dogs (139,000) obtained during the pandemic are showing signs of fear. This a 12% increase from previous studies pre-pandemic that showed only 3% of dogs showed signs of fear.

Studies show that 40% of dogs are afraid of fireworks therefore it is crucial for dog owners to take serious precautions to look after their beloved pets. Especially as we enter firework season.

Johanna Buitelaar-Warden, Founder & Managing Director for Lords & Labradors said, “Rather than wait for the event your dog is afraid of (like fireworks night) spend time desensitising them to the noises that scare them by playing recordings at a very, very low volume often, and pair this with something your dog loves such as food, a game or some training. This way they get used to the noise at a level they can manage and start to associate it with nice things.”

Lords & Labradors have issued tips on simple, but clear ways to spot that your dog is stressed:

Signs start small like a flick of the eye away from the thing that bothers them. This will usually progress to the dog looking away and then turning away fully and even walking off.

yawning out of context (so when they aren’t sleepy)

licking their lips (when they haven’t eaten)

panting (when they haven’t done any exercise)

looking sideways so you can see the whites of their eyes.

If your dog is actively whining, shaking, heavily breathing or performing escape behaviours by trying to get away, then the situation is serious, and you must intervene somehow.

Vet, and Reverend, Dr Jenny McKay tells her patients owners the unique acronym CATS which stands for:

C- Close curtains and doors

A-Add music

T- Treats

S-Safe place

“The key is to keep our pets inside in one room. Make them feel secure by closing the doors and curtains. Put some music on as well to block out the sounds of fireworks. Make sure they have their favourite food or treats on hand and finally provide a safe place to curl up. It could be a cat roofed bed or a comfortable radiator bed, somewhere they can snuggle down.”

If you already know that your pets get really agitated with the fireworks, your vet may be able to advise on certain prescription medicines that could help such as sedatives.

Johanna Buitelaar-Warden, Founder & Managing Director at Lords & Labradors said, “Pet owners should where possible behave as normal which will also de-stress your pet; always offer your dog calm comfort and attention, never ignore them. Fear is an emotion, not a choice, and therefore cannot be made worse through love and affection.”