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Guy Fawkes is a fun and festive occasion for the two-legged, but for dogs it can be a disturbing and scary time. You can just imagine them thinking “Why is my family trying to blow up my home?!”
“Pets can suffer anxiety as much as we do, sometimes worse as they can’t rationalise what is happening” said Veterinarian Lauren Bleaken. “Bright colours, flashes, loud bangs and cracks can result in anxiety. In my time as a Vet, this has presented behaviourally as dogs running away, hiding under beds, hyperventilating, wetting the bed, and in extreme cases, breaking through plate glass doors in order to escape the unknown attack” said Bleaken.
VitaPet Brand Manager Nigel Owen said “Dogs can’t talk so we can only assume what they’re feeling from their behaviour. Here’s some things you can you do to ease potential stress:”.
Tips in the home
- On the day, take your dog for a nice long walk before night time, reducing their energy levels.
- Plan to keep them home, inside if possible, during Guy Fawkes. If you are taking them out and about with you keep a close eye for signs of stress and anxiety – be prepared to take them home and get them calmed down.
- As the sun goes down, pull the curtains and try putting on the TV or radio to distract from the bangs of fireworks. Remember – dogs have senses that are far more sensitive than our own.
- Provide a cosy place for your dog to curl up, but if they would rather run and hide under a sofa or bed it’s best to leave them to it rather than coax them out immediately.
- Keep them occupied with treats or a chew toy, VitaPet have a good range – keep them handy.
- Remember, if your dog does get stressed, you, as the grown-up, ought to stay calm to show that there is nothing to fear.
- In the lead up to Guy Fawkes, give your local city council a call or look online to see if there are any planned events nearby that might cause problems for your dog.
- Have a chat to neighbours to see if they’re planning anything that you ought to be aware of.
- If you are at all concerned, think about making arrangements for your dog to stay elsewhere for a bit.
If you are concerned
- Talk to your Vet or pet specialty store in advance for more advice, as there are further medicated and non-medicated options available, particularly if your dog is showing signs of stress or anxiety or has shown signs in the past.
It is important to take action now, as “these experiences can cause enormous anxiety, and for some pets this anxiety gets worse year upon year,” said Bleaken.
On a more positive note… this crazy period is a great excuse to spend more quality time with your dog. Keep some extra VitaPet dog treats on hand and get out and have some fun together – and while you’re out and about why not take some great snaps of your clever dog and upload them at www.trick4treats.co.nz. They could be in an Ad Campaign and you could win a year’s supply of VitaPet!