Poodles N Pooches Dog Grooming Service in Bromely, West Wickham, Orpington, Locksbottom

Fear and Phobia

Reaction to phobias may vary. Tread gently as it is possible to make matters worse. It is important to go only as quickly as your pet will allow as fear may turn to aggression if your pet is pushed into a situation with no avenue for escape.

Fear of Fireworks:
As celebrations for bonfire night now seem to go on for longer than a single night, we urge everyone to follow the animal-friendly firework code. Loud firework bangs and dazzling displays of flashes in the sky can be particularly terrifying to animals. They get frightened and confused, run away and are often lost or injured. Bonfire heaps are also a danger. They attract small hibernating animals like hedgehogs that perish when the fire is lit. We can help animals avoid suffering firework and bonfire injuries by attending well-planned, organised events and firework displays as far away from farm animals and residential areas as possible.

In order to keep your pet safe during this time, we advise owners to follow the tips below.

Preparation:

  • Give your dog a good long walk to ensure fear is not increased due to an over abundance of energy. It also provides an opportunity for your dog to relieve himself as he may not be comfortable going outside later in the evening.
  • If your pet is particularly sensitive to loud noises, ask your veterinary surgeon for advice on medication. There are some homeopathic remedies available to relieve stress but please consult your vet before supplying your pet with any of these remedies.
  • Remember to secure doors and windows.
  • Build bonfires as late as possible and make a final check for animals before they are lit.
  • If you are having a firework display or bonfire, warn neighbours and local farmers in advance so they can take precautions. Ideally, why not go to your local community display?
  • Ensure your pets' identification is current so if they do get away local authorities are better able to help return them to you.
  • You pet may find toys and treats comforting and distracting so ensure you have a supply of their favourites.

 

During the evening:

  • Dogs and other pets living outside, such as rabbits, should be moved from the garden and taken into a garage or outbuilding or within the home, before it becomes dark. Curtains or blinds should be drawn before fireworks celebrations begin.
  • Turn on the television or radio to drown out the noise and for reassurance.
  • Monitor your pets' behaviour but don't fuss over them or crowd or your pets will pick up on your anxieties. You should keep to their normal routine as much as possible.
  • Never let off fireworks near any animal. Horses and livestock in nearby fields will be terrified.

The day after:

  • Always clear up after a bonfire party with fireworks - litter is hazardous to domestic and wild animals.
  • Anxiety may continue for one or more days after the event so please watch your pet for signs of stress and continue to make them feel safe and secure.

 

Longer Term Measures:

  • You can purchase tapes of fireworks sounds to accustom your dog to them during training. These basic training skills can be used under normal circumstances i.e. when there are no fireworks in the neighbourhood:
    • When your dog is under control and relaxed, play a tape at very low volume so it is barely audible and encourage your dog to perform tasks in an area where it feels safe. Give generous praise and reassurance.
    • Gradually increase the volume at a rate with which your dog is comfortable.
    • Training sessions should be short and frequent.

This training procedure can also be used for other sounds such as thunderstorms.

Fear of cars:

  • May be related to confinement, movement or the destination. Gradually expose your dog to the car in an unthreatening way and take your dog to places that are fun for you and your dog!
  • Spend time with your dog in a parked car with doors open and ignition off. You can feed meals in the car, give tasty titbits and reassure. If your dog is too scared to eat in the car feed it a distance away and gradually get closer.
  • When your dog is comfortable eating in the car you can try it with the ignition on.
  • Close the doors, but keep windows open.
  • Make a very short journey to somewhere nice like the park.
  • Gradually increase the length of the journey.
  • Your dog should be kept on a lead while doing this, but do not use the lead to restrain your dog if it is frightened. If your dog panics and pulls then you have moved too quickly and need to take a step back.

Fear of vets: 

  • Do not just make journeys to the vet when your dog is ill as this creates negative associations. Most practices will indulge visits for nervous animals just to come in and be handled by a nurse and to be fussed over and given treats.
  • Try giving treats that your dog loves and can only have when at the vets.

 

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