We’ve been hearing fireworks go off near our home most nights for the past week now, so hopefully this post will be useful for any owners of worried dogs. The lead up to the 5th November is not Lupo’s favourite time of year. Loud noises such as these are akin to balloons and water bottles to him as things he is most scared of!
We usually go to the local firework display, so will leave Lupo on his own for a few hours. So its important we do a few things to make him comfortable. We make sure all the windows are shut and the blinds are closed. Leave the TV on the radio channel with soothing music, something to help mask the loud bangs outside. And finally put all his favourite toys within reach. He like things he can chew, including blankets to suck (it’s a Dobermann thing!)
When we’ve been home on the night in the past, he hasn’t reacted much more than pricking his ears and coming to us for reassurance, so I’m not worried he gets in too much of a state without us but its nice to have some extra reassurance.
What we will be trying this year is a product called YuCalm from a company called Lintbells, which is a natural supplement that helps calm dogs for events such as bonfire night, or offers a longer term solution for those with fearful temperaments.
This product also comes at a perfect time when Lupo’s routine and home life has been disrupted, as we welcomed our second baby just two months ago. We know all about having a dog that is stressed, that baby crying must be very loud in his sensitive ears.
Lintbells say: “It’s the science behind this all-natural product that makes it all the more credible. YuCALM’s unique formula of scientifically proven natural ingredients includes L-Theanine which supports production of calming compounds in the brain. One of those calmers is dopamine – the ‘feel-good’ chemical messenger involved in the pathways controlling reward and pleasure. Lemon Balm has an effect on GABA levels which exerts a calming effect by dampening down some of the signals travelling through the brain. High quality fish protein is also used to support brain function, as well as also acting on GABA and dopamine levels.”
Check out this short video to learn more about YuCalm:
Lintbells believe there are five elements essential to dog happiness, which we are giving a try this bonfire night.
Play: The Bone Dog ToyComfort: A soft blanket
Free from stress: YuCALM Dog – 1 x 120 pack (be sure to check the daily feeding guideline when using it with your dog)
Lintbells vet James Howie says there are ways to reduce the stress of fireworks season and other fearful events, “The first thing to understand is that noise phobias don’t get better with time – in fact in most cases the fearful reaction will become worse year on year.”
James advises pet owners to seek help from accredited pet behaviourists or vets, “There are techniques that can be used to help support your dog through fireworks season Using supplements and other aids can keep dogs relaxed enough to accept these techniques without feeling too anxious. It’s vital to involve the experts, though ,to make sure you help your dog learn new habits that will stick and that you lower anxiety effectively.”
Top 10 dos and don’ts for pet owners this firework season
Do – keep your dog safe indoors and ensure they have identification such as a registered microchip and a collar with a disc including your contact details: 37% of survey respondents said their dogs are likely to react to stress by running away.
Do – provide a safe hiding place indoors (such as a tent or pet bed in a quiet, secluded part of the house): 56% of dog owners told Lintbells that their dogs tend to react to stress and anxiety by cowering or hiding.
Do – act calmly and normally, providing too much fuss can reinforce the idea that there is something to be afraid of.
Do – make sure the environment is safe if your dog starts to react in an uncharacteristic way: 13% of survey respondents said their dogs become destructive when stressed.
Don’t – keep the house in silence, a radio or TV can help mask the noise of fireworks.
Don’t – leave your dog alone at night if at all possible: 21% of survey respondents felt that being left alone was stressful for most dogs and in fact it’s estimated that up to 80% of dogs suffer from some form of separation anxiety when their owners are absent.*
Do – draw the curtains or blinds and if necessary drape over additional fabric to muffle noise and flashes of light.
Do – take your dog for a long walk during the day so they are more likely to rest or sleep in the evening.
Do – think about using a supplement or other aid to help your dog feel calm and relaxed.
Do – ask your vet or certified animal behaviourist for advice about longer term training which can include desensitisation (helping your dog to become accustomed to triggers over time by slowly building up their exposure) and counter conditioning (helping your dog to start associating a fearful event with positives rather than negatives).
How does your dog act on Bonfire night? Let me know in the comments below!