New Year fireworks can be a stressful time for dogs
It isn’t just the sudden noises late at night that cause anxiety, it is also the change in routine and the excitement of the household as New Year approaches.
The Season as a whole takes it’s toll on many things within a household, with irregular people popping in and out and other family members taking extended time off work along with excited children off school throwing boxes and wrapping paper around the place.
Well, that’s what it’s like here, I’m sure all readers of this article have perfectly peaceful and meditative home lives where all the people have a wrinkle free, soft outer glow about them just like the Bisto gravy adverts … yeah right, no wonder our companion animals are stressed out!
Anyway, help is possibly at hand with a few of the Mekuti products and techniques that we use with our own animals.
Build a Den
Meg in one of her dens!
Perhaps the most useful thing in a room when there are fireworks or thunder happening is a safe sanctuary. A place where the dog can go and just be with itself, feel safe and comfy. If one isn’t provided, they will probably find one of their own.
Our Meg likes to go under desks, the printer table, tucked away in a corner squashed against a chair and impossible to get to. Often stuck at an odd angle she cannot be reached and any attempt to do so will be me met with snarling or worse. Not pleasant.
So, we have built her a den by using a regular dog crate, made comfy inside with a blanket or two and surrounded on the outside with a duvet and another couple of blankets. The door is left open but the entrance is covered so she can disappear inside to be in the dark whenever she wants to.
OK, she sometimes still whimpers a bit in there but she is at least comfy and has a few personal items of treasure in there secreted away when we haven’t been looking! We don’t go in there only to tidy up occasionally or rescue essential or dangerous items as it is solely her own space.
Mekuti Body Wrap
Mutley lying down curled up with his Body Wrap
The Body Wrap brings the dog’s awareness to itself. It is easy to put on and helps to reduce anxiety and bring about a calming effect almost immediately.
Don’t expect your dog to be too active with a Body Wrap on as they are likely to be very chilled out.
Available in three sizes, the Medium size (3″) costs £8.75 and can be purchased on the Mekuti website Body Wrap page.
It is important to remember however, that your dog should not be left unattended with the Body Wrap on as it can get caught or snagged on something which would be far from ideal so an ideal alternative for extended use is …
A Dog T-Shirt
Grieving Meg feeling happier and calmer in her T-Shirt
A Dog T-Shirt is really such an invaluable piece of equipment for an unhappy dog. It always pains me to see this picture as she was grieving for her recently lost friend and companion Heidi and really wasn’t into doing very much. On this occasion her T-Shirt helped her to get out and do a bit of roaming around engaging with the outside world again, building up her confidence once more.
T-Shirts work by giving the dog a sort or ‘portable hug’ and help them feel secure. They are perfect for when there are fireworks and thunder around and can help to stop whining, excessive barking, shaking and many other anxiety/stress related symptoms.
At New Year and Bonfire Night we have over the years found the T-Shirt to be part of our essential kit and can be used for extensive periods in the house, on walks and when travelling. We always have a spare T-Shirt and Body Wrap in the car.
Made by Equafleece from 95% Cotton and 5% Spandex, they are stretchy, comfortable and washable. Available in various sizes, the Medium costs £16 and is available to buy on the Mekuti website T-Shirt page.
An alternative to the T-Shirt is …
A HotterDog Jumper
Two staffys sporting their new jumpers.
When it comes to calming and reducing anxiety because of things like fireworks and thunder, these HotterDog Jumpers work in the same way that the T-Shirts do.
Obviously, they are a bit better at helping to keep the dog warm and dry on cold, damp days and snow just brushes off.
Again, we find these really useful especially around Christmas and New Year. They can be worn for extended periods of time both inside and outside. Though they stop our dogs from getting too cold by protecting their core body temperature they don’t get overheated. You might be able to spot that in the top picture of Meg in her den that she is wearing a jumper too.
Also made by Equafleece from a hard wearing man made fleece material, they are easily washed, keep their shape and colour well. Available in four different colours, the Medium costs just £19.75 and can be bought on the Mekuti website dog jumper page.
… and finally
When it’s all going off outside and our dog are being wary they are always looking to us for cues on how to behave. They are very tuned in to our own feelings and anxieties and possibly the most important thing to remember is to avoid eye contact if at all possible. Stay relaxed and as calm as possible whilst enjoying all the things that the Season brings us.
Happy New Year!