Happy Howloween to all our members. I hope you’ve had a lovely month. First up, just the one result for our members from this month’s Championship shows; Tina Gibson’s “Joe Essex” CH Rottsworth Giorgio Diester (CH Dominatus James Dean Diester x CH Vorzeigen Hot Gossip At Rottsworth) won the Dog CC and Best of Breed under Andrea Maltas (Virlees) at South Wales Kennel Association. He also then went on to take Working Group 3 under Robin Searle. Congratulations to them.
As the firework season is fast approaching, I thought I would take this time to pass on some advice, from the Kennel Club, for dealing with your dogs during what can be a difficult period for them. Loud bangs and flashes created by fireworks can be frightening for them and make them stressed and unpredictable which can potentially put their safety at risk. Around 40% of UK dogs are scared of fireworks, therefore many owners need to plan ahead to keep their dog calm and safe in the weeks before Bonfire night.
In the time leading up to fireworks season you can help your dog become used to loud noises; there are many noise CDs or downloadable content available which can give you the opportunity to introduce your dog to these noises in a controlled manner. However, if your pet is severely scared of these noises then the sound CDs may make the situation worse and it may be a good idea to speak to an experienced animal behaviourist.
Your microchip details should be kept up to date and your dogs should be wearing a collar with an ID tag. Dogs can react very badly to the sounds of fireworks and statistics show that, last year, there was an increase in calls to Petlog’s lost pet line at the end of October and beginning of November. Approximately 53% of microchips have the incorrect owner details, meaning that if a pet goes missing around bonfire night, many dogs may not be returned to their owners. For more information on microchipping and Petlog go to www.petlog.org.uk.
Find out where and when firework displays are being held in your area so that you know when to expect them. Also ask your neighbours to let you know if they are planning any unofficial displays to help you prepare.
Before the fireworks begin top up your dog’s water bowl; anxious dogs pant more and get thirsty.
Feed your dog before you expect any disturbances as, once the fireworks start, your dog may be too stressed to eat. Walk your dog before dusk as it might be some time before it’s safe to take them outside to go to the toilet. Always make sure that your garden is completely secure, just in case a firework goes off unexpectedly. Make sure you shut all doors and windows in your home and draw the curtains. This will block out any scary flashes of light and reduce the noise level of fireworks. Block off dog doors and cat flaps to stop dogs (and cats) escaping. Make a safe den for your dog to retreat to if they feel scared, fill it with their favourite blankets, toys, or an item of your unwashed clothing, as these can comfort them.
During the fireworks distract your dog from the noise by having the TV or the radio switched on.
Try to act and behave as normal, if you act oddly that will put them on edge. Try to stay calm, happy and cheerful as this will send positive signals to your dog. If your dog hides under the bed or behind furniture, let them; if they come to you for comfort, make sure that you give it to them! You cannot reinforce a fear by comforting your dog and ignoring them would only make things worse as they wouldn’t understand your withdrawal from them. Always reward calm behaviour with treats or play.
Don’t try to tempt them out if they do retreat, as this may cause more stress. Don’t tell your dog off, this will make them more distressed. It is important to remember that it is natural for a dog to be scared of loud noises and unfamiliar sights and sounds. If you need to open the front door, shut your dog safely inside a room first.
Never take your dog to a firework display, even if your dog does not bark or whimper, don’t assume they are ok with it. Excessive yawning and panting can be an indication that your dog is stressed. Never ever tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off.
If you’ve tried everything and your dog is still stressed then consult your vet. If you are considering giving your dog any remedies or medications to help them cope with stress during fireworks, always speak to your vet if your dog has any health problems, or if they are taking any medication. Also you can speak to a behaviourist in your area about potential behavioural issues that may arise around this time of year, they are experts and can offer invaluable advice to help safeguard the health and happiness of your dog and make sure their dog’s experience of Bonfire Night is as positive as possible.
Don’t forget to enter our Open Show on the 1st of December at Ditton Community Centre in Kent. Online entries are available until the 17th of November on www.ejcprint.co.uk. Our judge is Lewis Cartwright (Steigen). We are also running Heart Testing, please contact Julia Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Temperament Testing, please contact Kelly Holliday.
I hope you have a lovely November and please let me know if there is anything you want included in next month’s blog xxx