Most dogs are a little bit afraid of banging fireworks – some are absolutely terrified. They cower, shiver, bark and try their best to get away and hide. Some remain afraid long after the event has passed. The symptoms may worsen with each passing year. Cats too often show the same fears. So, how can you help your pet cope with this firework phobia?
We could ban all bangers and screechers. Wouldn’t that be great. They terrify our horses and goats too. But since that is very unlikely to happen we need to do whatever we can to get our pets through the ordeal of Bonfire Night, which seems to go on for weeks each year.
Keep your pet indoors – Take your dog out for a long walk during the day to help him feel tired. A big supper helps too, comfort food goes down a treat and is good for nerves. Draw the curtains, have the radio or t.v. on louder than usual to drown out the noise. Keep all doors closed. We always get more stray dogs in than usual around this time of year. They panic and make a dash for an open door to try to get away. Unfortunately, it’s worse outside, so keep your pet safe. Get cats indoors in the afternoon, you may not be able to get them in once the noise starts.
Ask the vet – Sedatives can be prescribed by the vet for severe cases, so get that organised well in advance if your dog is likely to become very stressed.
Herbal products – Otherwise, there are herbal products to help and these really do work. Scullcap and Valerian tablets are a licenced veterinary herbal medicines and relieve anxiety, nervousness and exciteability. Start giving them several days before firework night (New Year is another stress time). You can continue giving them for as long as needed.
Dorwest Herbs – Scullcap and Valerian tablets are made by Dorwest Herbs and we have been using their products for over 30 years and can heartily recommend them. Pop in to our ‘In the Dog House’ Visitor Centre and pick up supplies. You’ll need one tablet for every 5kg in weight and it’s best to split the dose into two – night and morning. Valerian compound on it’s own is effective too and is a liquid, very easy to give to cats who will lick it off their paw or you can give it in food.
Firework phobia leaflets – supplied by Dorwest are available from the visitor centre.
Keep safe and enjoy your bonfire night – coloured fireworks are fun – bangers are terrifying and dangerous to animals.