REMEMBER REMEMBER YOUR DOG THIS NOVEMBER

Dog Trust Manchester prepares to help homeless hounds relax this Fireworks Night

This Fireworks Night, Dogs Trust Manchester will be “chewning” into the airwaves to help petrified pooches conquer their fear of fireworks and are urging local dog owners and radio stations to do the same.

Staff at the rehoming centre in Denton will also be going the extra mile to ensure the dogs in their care are as comfortable as possible on Bonfire Night, making sure they all get the chance to enjoy lots of exercise before darkness falls, and playing soothing songs to help cowering canines keep calm on 5th November.

A Dogs Trust survey of 3,750 pet owners shows that two-thirds of dogs are worried by fireworks and that 93% of their owners alter their routine during fireworks celebrations to try to minimise the trauma on their pets. Every year the charity receives calls from pet owners who simply don’t know how to calm their pets. Dogs hear much higher frequencies than we do and the whizz and pop of fireworks can be alarming for them, so playing music helps to drown out frightening sounds.

Toffee, a three-year-old Crossbreed, is so fearful of fireworks noise that staff at the centre will be making sure he gets lots of time to exercise and play during the day and during the evening will keep him occupied with games and training as well as playing soothing songs, and making sure he has a comfy place to hide in his kennel.

Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre Deputy Manager, Lesley O’Donoghue, comments,

“We will be doing everything we can to ensure Toffee relaxes and stays calm. Playing soothing music is a huge part of this so we are appealing to local radio stations to play anything and everything from slow songs to love ballads and classical compositions to help Toffee feel at ease! We will do all we can to help him feel as comfortable as possible but nothing will beat a loving home where he can settle into a happy routine with a devoted new owner.”

Dogs Trust Head of Behaviour and Training Lynn Barber explains:

“November is potentially a worrying month for dogs like Toffee as so many dogs are sensitive to sounds. They hear much higher frequencies than we do and the whizz, bang, pop of fireworks can be too much for them.

“If your dog chooses to hide then that is where he or she feels safest and it’s important that they’re allowed to stay in their hide-out as long as needed. We urge owners to simply try and make their four-legged friends as comfortable as possible whether it involves playing music or building a den, or just reassuring them if they come to you.”

To help owners prepare their dogs ahead of November 5th Dogs Trust has joined forces with vets, Sarah Heath and Jon Bowen to offer a free sound based treatment programme, The Sounds Scary Audio Therapy Programme. The free download of Sounds Scary with its corresponding how-to-use guide is available online at https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets and contains a collection of specifically recorded noises for use in desensitisation.

Other advice from the charity includes:

· don’t punish a dog for cowering or reacting to the fireworks as this will intensify his or her fear. Owners should remain relaxed and therefore provide a good role model to the dog when it is afraid.

· walk your dog before dark and feed them before the fireworks begin in case they become unsettled and don’t want to eat;

· don’t leave your dog alone in the house;

· keep your dog busy perhaps playing games or doing reward based training;

· provide a safe hiding place, close the curtains and turn up the volume on your TV or radio to drown out the fireworks noises;

· make sure your garden is completely secure and never let your dog off their lead outdoors when fireworks are being let off.

Tune in to Tameside Radio on Bonfire Night (5th November) for a special Reporter Show from 7pm til 8pm. We’ll hear all the advice from Dogs Trust’s Lesley O’Donoghue and we’ll be playing soothing tunes for your pets.