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If you are among the thousands of dogs owners whose dogs are spooked by sparklers or rattled by rockets, Dogs Trust is on hand to help calm those canine quivers. Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity is offering advice to help petrified pooches and their owners enjoy a fright free October.
Many dog owners are simply unaware of the affect that firework fear can have on their dogs and each year the charity is inundated with calls from dog owners who simply don’t know how to calm their doggies. Dogs Trust has issued some simple tips to help make the firework season less stressful for their four-legged friends;
Before the fireworks begin
*Walk your dog before dark – make sure your dog is well exercised and has had a toilet break before the fireworks begin.
*Feed your dog before the fireworks begin as he may become unsettled and not want to eat during the fireworks.
*Make sure your house and garden are secure during the fireworks as fear may make the dog act out of character and he may try to escape.
*Try to settle your dog before the fireworks start – if your dog is in familiar safe surroundings it will help him cope with the noise.
*Provide a safe hiding place – at noisy times around Halloween, make sure your dog has somewhere safe in his or her favorite room, perhaps under the table. Close the curtains and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out the firework noises.
*If your dog responds well to certain music, make a compilation and play it at a reasonable level to drown out the sound of the fireworks. Alternatively, put your radio on.
After the fireworks
*If your dog does react badly to fireworks seek advice from your vet regarding desensitisation programmes to help him or her cope more easily next time. As these programmes generally take several weeks or more to complete, they are not something that can be started in the final run-up to firework season and must be carefully planned.
*You should also ask about DAP – Dog Appeasing Pheromone – This is a scent which you can’t smell that comes in a plug-in diffuser, spray or collar that can comfort your dog and help him cope with his fears.
*It is also important that in the long term your dog becomes less scared of loud noises. It is most effective to prevent noise phobia developing by ensuring that puppies are desensitised to loud noise.
For more information visit dogstrust.ie/az/f/fireworks to download a free ‘Firework Fear and your Dog’ factsheet.