It's nearly that time of year where we start getting in-undated with people looking for natural calming products for their animals in readiness for July 1st.
Some animals aren't too fazed at all by the whole event where as some are absolutely terrified.
Here's our top tips for keeping safe and most importantly calm this cracker day and night.
Microchip: First of all check your contact details are up to date on your microchips. Click Here to check the details on your pets microchip.
Embroidered ID Collars: Organise some wearable ID like a collar with your number embroidered on (order yours here) or a lightweight tag with your contact details. Have some up to date clear photos saved in the event they do go missing.
- Start de-sensitising your dog/cat days/weeks earlier by using firework music or the 'Sound Proof Puppy Training' app and pairing it with positive emotional experiences like food/treats and nosework.
Fencing audit: Start checking your fence lines thoroughly NOW for any small holes or weaknesses. Your dog can squeeze through the tiniest spaces that they normally wouldn't on a normal day. Also consider whether your dog could jump or crawl up a fence. Many dogs have been tragically hanged on fences by their collars trying to escape in terror. And remember, they can dig too.
Have a plan in place early for not only the night time but also that day as many crackers are let off illegally earlier in the day and for some it is tragically too late by the time you return from work and many dogs have been lost before 6pm.
Mental enrichment is far more tiring than physical exercise for dogs. We're not saying don't walk your dog (we suggest a good adventure in nature in the morning), but consider some nosework with your dog - creating a basic treat search in the garden. Use your lawn as a giant snuffle mat. Use their food or treats to spread around the garden or inside cardboard boxes instead of feeding out of a bowl.
Play is a valuable and fun activity for your dog and your relationship, if the play is appropriate and suited to the dog. If your dog is ball obsessed however, today is not the day to play ball as this will flood your dogs body with cortisol and increase stress. Focus on calming and mentally draining activities like nosework (contact PK9B if you'd like to learn more about scent classes).
- Never tie or tether your dog. This can be very dangerous and will stress your dog more.
- Bring your pets inside on cracker night. Close all doors, windows and curtains/blinds so they can't see the flashes. Turn the AC and fans on. Create a shelter where your animal can retreat too, preferably in the most central room of the house where noises don't travel so well.
- Toileting: Give your dog the opportunity to toilet before the chaos begins. If you have to take them out later, do so on a long line just incase they want to bolt and jump the fence.
- Direct human supervision if possible is important to help prevent injury or escape. Stay cool and calm. Your behaviour and energy will be observed by your dog.
- Play some soothing relaxing dog music. There's heaps on Spotify or You Tube. Try Relax My Dog.
- Comfort them: Comforting your dog is perfectly okay. There is NO need to ignore them when they are frightened. Studies show, providing calm comfort does not make their fears worse.
Feed the bangs: Have your animals highest value food/treats on hand and offer them as the bangs start. Have some un-processed long lasting chewy treats (we have plenty of options). But your pet may be too stressed to eat.
- Natural Calming Products: Consider some chemical and toxic-free calming products to use such as Herbal Cracker Blend (our strongest product), Pet Relax Spray (for mild fear), Rescue Remedy and Thunder Shirts or ask about CBD Oil in-store. Click here for options.
- Veterinary Drugs: If you know your animal is acutely petrified of fireworks, plan a vet visit to discuss drugs options for the night. If your vet offers Ace (Acepromazine), ask for something else. ACP does not work to relieve anxiety. It immobilises so your dog is fully aware, still experiencing the internal terror but cannot react.
- Consider reading a book to your dog. Some experience this can be calming for both pet and person.
- A basic treasure hunt can be set up inside your home on cracker night using cardboard boxes and food tubs - ask any of our knowledgeable staff how to go about this.
- If your dog has an extreme reaction on cracker night, instead of drugging them, consider getting out of town to a very remote camping spot.