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Ways To Help Your Dog If They Are Frightened By FireWorks

The bangs of bonfire night can be terrifying for pets but The Blue Cross has plenty of top tips to make fireworks season as stress-free as possible.

Wendy Walker, whose 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier Oscar is treated by The Blue Cross, has had to deal with his firework phobia since he was a puppy.

He gets so distressed that one year he lost his voice after barking himself hoarse.

She said, “When Oscar hears the fireworks, he starts to bark and you can tell he is really distressed. Over the years we have tried everything to help soothe him – the vet gave us tranquillisers, we tried a plug-in which released soothing hormones, we leave the radio and television on, we stay at home with him.

“Once when he heard a banger go off in the park he bolted for the gate and was only stopped going into a busy road by a friend walking past. Now I always keep him on a long lead when in the park during fireworks season.”

Wendy said she has discovered that Oscar is most at ease when he spends Guy Fawke’s night with a friend’s calm dog, which helps to soothe him.

Blue Cross chief vet Caroline Reay said, “This time of year can be so terrifying for many pets and they end up getting into a very stressed state.

“We have seen pets who have become so scared they have suffered burns after hiding behind a fridge and one poor dog had to be put to sleep after he cleared a five foot fence and bolted into road, where he was hit by a car.

“But there are lots of things you can do to try to put your pet at ease during fireworks season, such as providing safe places, such as dens and hideaways, for them to retreat into at home.”

The Blue Cross has several tips for helping your pet on bonfire night:

    • Always keep pets inside when fireworks are being let off
    • Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before any fireworks start
    • Close all windows and doors and block off catflaps to stop pets escaping and keep noise to a minimum
    • If your animals are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on to block out some of the noise but make sure they are not too loud
    • Prepare a den for your pet where they can feel safe – perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes. They may want to hide when the fireworks start
    • Let them pace around, whine, bark and hide in a corner if they want to – don’t try to coax them out or cuddle/comfort them.
    • If they think you are worried, this can make them feel even worse so stay relaxed, act normally and praise calm behaviour
    • Try not to leave your pet alone and if you do have to go out, don’t be angry if you find they’ve been destructive when you get back
    • Don’t tie your dog up outside, leave them in the garden or in your car during the fireworks
    • Don’t take your dog with you to a fireworks display
    • Draw the Curtains
    • Make sure your dog is wearing some form of easily readable identification in case they do go missing

The Blue Cross, which is funded entirely by public donations, produces a free Fireworks and Animals leaflet which can be downloaded from the website www.bluecross.org.uk

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