I can’t help thinking it’s no coincidence that National Stress Awareness Day comes just before Bonfire Night – one of the most stressful time for many pet owners. Please remember to make sure your own pets are safe and secure as fireworks can frighten even the bravest of animals and even if you are not a pet owner yourself, please consider other peoples animals as you plan your display. If you have been building up your bonfire for a couple of week, don’t forget to check the base of it before for hibernating hedgehogs before lighting. If at all possible, it is best to move the whole thing to ensure the safety of our gardening friends and if you do find a sleepy hedgehog, just move it gently to the base of a hedge somewhere safe and sound.
And don’t forget to consider pets and other animals as many are terrified by loud firework displays. A dogs hearing is 10 times as sensitive as ours so you can imagine just how scary some of those big bangs can be. My work with herbs and essential oils has taught me that sometimes adding a little calming tea like chamomile, to your pet’s water bowl can help, as can a few drops of valerian. Alternatively put a few drops of lavender or valerian essential oil onto a piece of cotton wool and let the animal sniff at it in their own time – never force them. Rubbing a little chamomile between your hands before stroking your pet can also help and if you have a fragrant oil burner add a few drops of lavender or valerian to the oil as both oils have great calming properties.
Other tips include plenty of exercise during the day and adding a little cooked white rice or boiled potatoes to a dog’s dinner as the carbohydrates and fresh air will make them sleepy (also works well for owners). Giving a dog a big chewy toy or a toy that you can put treats in, like a Kong will also help to keep them occupied and distract them from the bangs and flashes of the fireworks.
Nervous animals are best kept indoors during firework displays but as fireworks are not just restricted to Bonfire Night, it’s easy to be caught unawares. Make sure that your garden is secure so that dogs can’t escape if frightened and although it sounds obvious, keep the garden gate shut!
Lynne Allbutt – From the Archive.