A TOP Wigan vet has revealed a few top tips about how to keep your pet dog calm this Bonfire Night.
Guen Bradbury, a veterinary surgeon at Anrich Veterinary Hospital, is a specialist in pet behaviour.
She reckons there are a range of different remedies for puppies who have not experienced the trauma of fireworks before, for older pooches who show some concern during Bonfire Night and for those that are scared stiff!
She said: “For puppies, I would recommend going on Youtube and finding a clip of a firework display. Gradually build up the volume of the fireworks over several days in the build-up to Bonfire Night and give them a treat every time there’s a bang. This is a good way of teaching a puppy that it’s nothing to worry about.
“Then, on Bonfire Night itself, it’s best to keep all dogs in a central part of the house and to use thick curtains and draught excluders to muffle some of the noise. You can also play the radio or TV to drown out some of the noise.”
A recent survey by the Dogs Trust suggested that as many as three in every four dogs are frightened of fireworks.
Of these, one in 10 has been so severely affected that they have required veterinary treatment.
As difficult as the issue can be with puppies, it can be even more complex with older dogs, too.
Guen reckons some dogs suffer so badly around Bonfire Night that they start to get jittery as soon as the nights start drawing in.
She added: “The most important thing for owners to remember is that they should never try to reassure their dog. Dogs don’t understand the concept of reassurance and it can be counter-productive. If owners do the wrong things then they can actually train firework fear into their pets.
“The best thing to do is to not even appear to hear the bangs. There are also lots of herbal supplements that may or may not help your dog to settle down and, in severe cases, anti anxiety treatments.
“Anyone with concerns about their dog should see their vet because this can become a complex issue quite quickly.”
James Yeates, the RSPCA’s chief veterinary officer, agreed: “The vast majority of calls we receive at this time of year are about animals who are scared of fireworks. So we’re urging anyone holding a display to think about giving people in their area plenty of notice of when they will be.
“We’re also urging people to go to organised displays and to avoid putting on displays near animals.”