Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Prepare Your Dog for the Fireworks

This article originally appeared in our official newsletter for the month of May. To get more informative articles and sweet tales from the life of a rescue group, sign up for our newsletter today!


Caution: Seasonal Noise Aheadthunder

The arrival of hot weather and national holidays (like Victoria Day) aren't always reasons to celebrate. Especially for noise-phobic dogs.

For them, hot weather means thunderstorms. National holidays mean fireworks. And these phenomena can mean reactions ranging from anxious panting to panic attacks. It may also mean trembling, drooling or whining; pacing or barking; urinating or vomiting.

If you own a dog with such nervousness, it means bearing helpless witness to your pet's extreme fear. Fortunately, there are various ways to deal with your animal's distress. The first is to defuse the situation before it begins. Play a tape of the sounds of thunder (or fireworks) at a low volume for brief intervals, adjusting the volume according to your dog's responses. But if a thunderstorm or fireworks display has already started, there are several coping strategies you can try:
  1. Divert your dog's attention. Turn on the radio or TV, engage in some active games, and be generous with the treats. 
  2. Provide your dog with a dark, comfortable place to hide, such as a dog crate, the inside of a closet or a folded blanket under the bed. Being tucked away in a small, snug space allows your dog to feel more secure and muffles the noise outside.

  3. Buy dog-appeasing pheromones (their scent is similar to those released by nursing mother dogs), available in sprays, diffusers and collars.
  4. Bind a form-fitting, fabric wrap or thick, woven shirt tightly around your dog. Both garments are meant to touch certain pressure points in your dog's body, slowing down the heart, reducing knots of tension and helping to promote relaxation. 
If, however, your pet's anxieties escalate, there are two remaining alternatives: working with a qualified dog therapist to learn behaviour modification techniques or asking your vet to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication.

But, whichever path you choose, follow it with kindness, patience and love. Think back to the sounds that frightened you as a child, and you'll know just how your precious pet is feeling.

This article originally appeared in our official newsletter for the month of May. To get more informative articles and sweet tales from the life of a rescue group, sign up for our newsletter today!
 

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