Remember, remember the 5th of November…
… gunpower, treason and plot. Or to those of you not familiar with the story of Guy Fawkes, the Houses of Parliament and King James … Fireworks night is nearly upon us. Whizz bangs, screamers, rockets, fountains, sparklers and explosions. A perfect evening’s entertainment for most (particularly humans) but a terrifying ordeal with no known end and no escape for some (usually canine members of society). I have discussed the issue of noise sensitivity and noise phobias before (ducks in May) but it is the time of year to remind you to take action EARLY for your hounds! Mum was asked recently about drugs for fireworks
phobias. If your canine companion is a noise phobic fella or female you need to be taking action for them before the night before. If severe, your pooch will benefit the most from medication started NOW or ideally, 3 weeks ago (Dr Who could travel back in time, for the rest of us, please bear this is mind for next year …). Medication for anxiety takes up to 6 weeks for full effects to be seen and to be actually happening in the body. These medications cannot be taken the night before or the night of the frights beca
use they will have no effect. Some people like the idea of a sedative… CAUTION … have you seen What Lies Beneath? (The one with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer… lakehouse …that scene with the bath…). As in the film, a sedative will make your dog look calm and relaxed on the outside but inside they are suffering and fully aware. This has several effects. One, you think they are doing better than they are and won’t seek proper help. Two, they are suffering but your life is quieter. Three, they are getting worse because now not only are they terrified they can’t move or react appropriately… next time… much worse.
The best laid plans… I know I know, planning ahead isn’t everyone’s strong point but don’t worry. There are other medications you can give on an as needed basis so talk to your vet … and if they suggest a sedative… talk to a vet behaviourist person instead. Better drugs to use are those that help to block memories (the problem won’t get worse) while providing some calming effects. Be prepared for your dog to “look” the same though, displaying several of the signs you may want to stop. They are better in their head so don’t worry. Research Adaptil (pheromonatherapy), Thundershirts and massage. Make sure you provide your pooch with a hide away where they choose to go, feel secure, can sleep and rest securely. Don’t walk your dog at night when fireworks may go off. We know from guns and thunder that there are many aspects to a noisy event that can trigger fear (smells, darkness).
Block your dogs view of the fireworks, put Tv’s or radios on, play games and feed high value treats. For mild to moderate cases these little things can be really helpful.
For severe cases, you are better off doing some desensitisation, counter conditioning and medication therapy. Time consuming for one night a year but … welfare and peace of mind are beneficial all year round.
Think about it and get proactive now. Your hound will thank you on the inside and you will feel better about going to that big display… awww pretty and ooooh wow.
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- Remember, remember the 5th of November…
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- Anxiety – important issue for people and their hounds
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- ‘Tis the season to be jolly …