Fireworks are coming! Let's talk about dogs and how you can help.
I must admit I used to love fireworks. Who doesn't like pretty lights, loud bangs and wooshes? Well, I can say me! As soon as we get to this time of year I start to prepare for a month of hell in my house.
I now share my home with an extremely noise-sensitive border collie. The smallest bang can get her panicking. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to do this, just a way that works for you and your dogs. I have found that the longer the fireworks season goes on the worse she gets. I personally think it is a cup overflowing with emotions. I have had to find ways for her to release build-up emotion and stress which allows her to refill each night.
Here is what I have found that works for me and Myst.
Think about the space that makes your dog feel safe.
Firstly, I do the opposite of most people and turn every light on in the house, Myst copes better in the light. This was trial and error. Some dogs need a dark-covered space away from people and other noises. Not mine, she wants light and noise. I have the TV on loud with the action movies on. She can then blame the TV for the noise and has something to focus her attention on. It can be quite funny the looks I get. She gives a good stare to say she is not happy with my programme choice.
I am that mad woman walking her dog at 6 a.m. for an hour or two in the middle of nowhere. I want her to have fun and enjoy some freedom and peace. I never walk her off the lead after lunch as there is too much risk of early fireworks. One loud bang and she is off. It's not much fun trying to chase her at full speed as she is most certainly a lot faster than me. Long lines are a great tool at this time of year attached to a harness. They give you a safety net if they do take off, they do need to be used in open areas where there is less risk of them getting tangled.
I have a high-energy breed so making her think is a great way to make her tired. Puzzles, games and training. It is a great time of year to practice your dog's tricks and obedience work. 5 Mins of this will have the same effect as 20 Mins walking. This needs to be fun and challenging so you engage the brain.
4. Feeding and enrichment
Encouraging chewing and licking as this releases natural serotonin, the natural happy hormone.
Stuff trachea pieces are a great way of encouraging chewing. Ostrich Bones also clean teeth. I go through a lot of long-lasting chews over the fireworks season.
Topples, lickimat and kongs are all great ways to get your dog chewing and thinking at the same time.
I will be putting up some filling ideas over the next month. Be creative and have fun.
There are loads of supplements that can support calming not all are equal. I chose to use the Verm-x organic calming support, Dorwest skullcap and valerian and Pet remedy Plugin.
I am an herbal choice professional and truly believe in the power of herbs.
When we look at the Verm-x organic calming support it is a powerhouse of herbs. They are classified as nervine herbs. They have been used for centuries to support anxiety and stress.
The Dorwest skullcap and valerian are a strong combination of the most powerful nervine herbs. Myst who hates taking any form of pill, usually results in me having to put her in a headlock. I not joking and don't advise that anyone does this. She will happily eat these when she is anxious. However, as soon as she starts to feel better, I have no chance. So, I believe that they must be helping her, or she just won't take them.
Pet remedy sprays contain an aromatherapy mix of powerful herbs to help any animal relax and destress. This is a great tool if you have multiple animals and different species in the house, as they will all receive the benefits.
Yes, there are loads of options for you to try that I haven’t talked about.
Thunder shirts are just one. These didn’t work for me. The biggest issue I have with them is they need to fit properly to possible work; they are expensive to test. I will be sharing on our Facebook page how to bandage the dog to see if pressure wrapping will work for your dog.
There is one other thing that has given me the best results, unfortunately, it is not an option every year and not for the whole month. I took Myst away to the middle of nowhere and we stayed away for the whole weekend. I didn't see a single firework and she played her favorite game of flyball. This was the only time we had a completely stress-free bonfire night.
Share with us what has worked for you.