The Hovawart Club of Great Britain


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How to care for your dog on Bonfire Night
By: Janet Pearce

With bonfire night around the corner, us dogs owners are bracing ourselves for a difficult time.

Unfortunately as we are all too aware fireworks are not limited to the 5th November. They seem to start at Halloween and go on to well after bonfire night. With this in mind you need to prepare well in advance. There are various preparations you can make to reduce the stress fireworks cause your dog.

In Advance ...

When walking you dog during the firework season, whatever the time of day, keep him on a lead in case some one decides to play the fool. This will prevent him from running off, and possibly getting hurt.

Try a DAP Diffuser (Dog Appeasing Pheromone Diffuser) - this looks like a plug in air-freshener and releases a pheromone to calm the dog. For full effect this needs to be plugged in a couple of weeks before, close to the dogs den or sleeping area and needs to be kept on constantly.

You could also try Bach Flower Remedies, most commonly Rescue Remedy. Put five to six drops into your dogs drinking water each day for a few days prior to fireworks night. The remedy can also be given neat either by putting a few drops directly into our dogs mouth or onto a tit-bit.

There are now available desensitisation CDs which need to be used at least two-months before. You start off by playing the CD low, when the dog is eating or when playing, and slowly increase the volume as the dog gets used to the noise. These CDs cover the most common noises dogs fear, thunder, fireworks, car alarms etc.

Make up a den for your dog, in a quiet place, under the stairs, under a table etc. Put lots of blankets that he can snuggle into, close all windows and curtains. Get him used to this area before the night.

On the Day ...

Make sure your dog has a chance to go to the toilet before the evening. Some dogs are so scared that they will not even go out into the garden once they have heard a firework.

Put your dog in its den, make sure all windows and curtains are closed and you have put on some music. If you are going to use the radio or TV check what station you are using as some broadcast Firework Displays.

However mean it may appear, do NOT fuss your dog, you will just be reinforcing the scared behaviour. Wait until the dog calms, and then reward the calm behaviour.

If your dog appears OK you could try coaxing him to play games or even try some training.

When you are sure the fireworks have finished, take your dog out into the garden on a lead to be clean.

Lastly when walking your dog after the event be aware of the used fireworks, which may be lying on the ground.

All the above may be over the top to some people, especially if you are one of the lucky ones whose dog doesn't mind noises. I thought this until when at the age of 7 my collie had a fire work thrown at her early one evening before bonfire night. From then on she was a nervous wreck when bangs went off. You can never be too careful.

Stockists ...

Bach Flower Remedies - Rescue Remedy - Available from health food shops, pharmacies and some supermarkets.

Sound Effects CDs - Sounds Scary available from or telephone 01244-371473

Crash Bang Wallop CDs - available from or telephone 01952-261051

DAP Diffuser- Available from your Vet, or from CEVA
Health 01494-781510
This article was posted on: 01-Jan-09