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Coping with the fireworks season

October 28, 2013

We dread the start of the firework season in our household because Taffy, our Jack Russell, is terribly afraid of them. I don't think we're alone either, so I thought it would be helpful to share some of our tips to help your dog cope and make it a less stressful experience.

Dog hiding from fireworks

The firework season seems to last longer and longer each year. As soon as the trick or treaters hang up their witches hats, the rockets and firecrackers start and continue until into the New Year. These two long months of flashing lights and loud noise can be like hell for some sensitive pets, but prevention is better than cure and there as lot that can be done to prepare in advance.

Remember that cats, as well as dogs, can be startled by fireworks and run away from home or become stressed and anxious from the change in their routine.

Planning ahead for the fireworks season

Fireworks can be stressful for your petsFind out when organised fireworks displays will be happening in the vicinity of your home. They will be advertised in your local newspapers and what's on guides well ahead of time. Mark the dates on your calendar so that you know when fireworks are likely to be heard from your house.

Get organised ahead of time. Plan your schedule to try, wherever possible, to be at home with your pet when you know fireworks are likely to be set off. If you can't be at home then ask a friend or relative to house sit for you or look after your pets while you're away from the house.

Recordings of firework sounds are available on CD and can be played regularly to help desensitise your pets from the noise of the loud bangs and whistles. Start low at first and gradually increase the volume over the course of a few days, providing your pet stays calm.

If you're planning to try natural calming remedies then remember that they may take a few days to work into your dog's system, so start them well ahead of the start of the fireworks season.

Walk your dog during daylight hours before the fireworks begin.

What to do when the fireworks start

Make sure your home is secure! Last November 5th, PetLog reported a 40% increase in the number of calls reporting missing pets. Close the windows, doors and cat flaps! Your pets are likely to be very scared and you need to minimise their opportunity to flee.

Close the curtains so that fireworks can't be seen by your dog and put the TV or music on to muffle the sound of the bangs and crackles.

Try not to react to the sound of the fireworks yourself. Your dog will pick up on this. Act as normally as possible.

Allow your dog to find their own safe haven. If this is on your lap or on the settee then so be it! Taffy runs upstairs and lies at the top of the staircase, or sits between us on the sofa wanting a cuddle.

Don't get annoyed with your dog if they whine or bark at the noise of the fireworks. Remember, they are scared! Play with them to try and distract them from the upsetting sights and sounds.

The next morning

Check your garden before you let your pets back outside. Make sure there are no remnants of fireworks lying around.

Natural calming remedies

We sell a number of great products to help calm and relax your pets during the fireworks season.

Dorwest herbal products are proven to be effective in reducing anxiety by calming and relaxing dogs (and cats) naturally. These will not 'drug' or sedate your pets, but will help them feel more relaxed and not as bothered by the sights and sounds that would normally cause them stress and fear.

Scullcap & Valerian tablets from Dorwest HerbsScullcap & Valerian tablets and liquid Valerian Compound are herbal treatments containing Valerian or Scullcap herbs which are very effective in reducing anxiety in the brain. So your pet will remain alert, but less anxious and restless. The liquid Valerian Compound will also help calm your cat, by placing a few drops on bedding, onto food, direct into their mouths or on their paws for them to lick off.

Liquid Valerian Compound by Dorwest HerbsIn a 2013 Dorwest Herbs Firework Fear Survey, 98.53% of customers said they would recommend Scullcap & Valerian tablets and 95.12% would recommend liquid Valerian Compound, with the majority purchasing their calming products one month before firework night recognising the importance of preparing in advance.

The Little Pet Biscuit Company handmade Camomile and Malt dog biscuits combine Valerian root with the calming effects of Camomile. Sweetened with honey and malt extract, they smell delicious too!

Valerian becomes more effective when given regularly, so we would recommend giving your dog a biscuit or two a day at least a week before the fireworks season begins.

Woof & Brew herbal tea for Adult dogs also contains calming Scullcap to help relieve anxiety. Herbal tea can be added to your dog's water bowl for them to lap up. Or used to moisten their kibble. We sell pouches containing 7 tea bags which can be made (like normal tea) to produce 7 litres of herbal tea for your dogs - enough to last for a busy week of firework displays.

We really hope this has been useful to help your prepare for a stress free and relaxed firework season this year.

Good luck!

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