30th of October / Halloween 31st October
Guy Fawkes5th of November / New Year’s Eve’– 31st December
On the day:
If your dog walks well on-leash, take her for an energy-spending walk in the afternoon, before firecrackers start up, so she’s a little more relaxed and less energetic at home. Dogs who pull usually accumulate stress instead of releasing it and are often more energetic after a walk, so it’s best to use a relaxant alone (see below) to somewhat alleviate stress, until they have been properly trained to walk happily without pulling. Play a game in the garden with your dog instead if walking is difficult, for a while before sunset and until your dog is tired.
Place your pooch’s favorite (soft) bed in your dog’s safe area. Place a bowl of water nearby and leave a delicious stuffed & frozen dog chew there for her to find when she goes there as the noise starts to scare her.
Turn on your TV or music at one notch above normal volume, to drown out a bit of the sound and help to break the focus somewhat.
Don’t pacify your fearful dog. You’ll be confirming to her that there is in fact something to be concerned about, when there isn’t. Act normally and continue with your usual routines, to show her and your other pets that there’s no problem.
Don’t restrain your dog as she might become even more stressed, and don’t lock her in an enclosed area – she might panic and hurt herself.
Most dogs want to run and hide which is why a safe spot should be available. If your dog becomes active (e.g: pacing) try to engage her in a game if possible.
Keep puppies happily distracted with games.
Preparation a few days beforehand
Create the above safe spot for your dog to go to when feeling nervous. It’s best to take note of where she usually goes and to work with that. It might be under a desk in the study or to the laundry room. The spot should be available to her 24/7.
Stuff a chew-toy using your dog’s favourite ingredients eg: chicken bits mixed with some liver spread. Freeze it so your dog can focus on getting that yummy filling out rather than focusing on the terrible sounds she’s hearing. Gnawing also releases stress.
Start feeding your dog’s meals in her safe area for a few days beforehand if possible. Be cheerful and make it a fun experience to help create a general good feeling there.
Also leave odd treats or a chew in the area for your dog to find randomly over the next few days to further enhance positive connotations with her safe spot.
A natural, over the counter relaxant or a schedule medicine (for severe stress) is worth chatting to your vet about. Calmeze and Nutricalm are natural supplements, but should you wish to use these, they need to start being used a few days prior to the stressful situation they’ll endure. Dose daily for 4 days prior to stress.
Have your pets micro-chipped as a precaution.