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Preparing for fireworks season...

Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Author, has studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier.

Could a clever gadget named RelaxoPet reduce firework fear at Halloween and beyond?

Glorious autumn is perfect for walking the dog, but it’s a sign that Halloween is on the horizon and the two-month onslaught of fireworks.

Diwali, New Year’s Eve, and The Chinese New Year annually also make this season bang out of order for Britain’s pets.

Worryingly the RSPCA revealed that 62% pet parents confirmed their pet showed signs of distress at fireworks being an acute ‘environmental stressor’.

Affecting livestock, horses and wildlife too, the RSPCA receives over 500 calls a year of emergencies caused by fireworks fears.

Amid concerns that the pandemic’s social distancing rules could mean public displays are cancelled, driving folk to stage their own in gardens or in parks at random times.

Over 85% owners concurred that Fireworks should be restricted to specific dates, displays should be licensed and the manufacturers should reduce decibels, even make them noiseless, making them less scary to animals.

With thousands of puppies purchased through lockdown, already displaying anxiety from a lack of ‘normal’ socialisation, coupled with 37% of pre- lockdown dogs also showing increased anxiety as a result of Covid restrictions.

If displays become random in gardens, it might not be possible to be at home with your pets as advised when an onslaught occurs, unlike if you can diarise and plan around public displays.

Turn up the TV and cook a delicious meal, distracting your dog with sights sounds and smells inside. Exercise your dog really well in the day and provide lots of chews, stuffed KONGs as a focus away from the onslaught outside.

I’ve tried desensitising with special sound CD’s with limited success. Last year I was asked to test a new device called RelaxoPet on Prudence my Miniature Bull Terrier who is noise sensitive like 45% of the dog population.

For Prudence fireworks clearly make her very edgy. If I were not at home when a random display kicked off, Prudence’s anxiety would tip the barometer.

I was intrigued to see if RelaxoPet would make a difference as Prudence’s noise sensitivity has impacted on her overall behaviour albeit happy, but very excitable.

It took a few days for me to notice, but Prudence definitely dropped down a gear on her excitement graph and became calmer and more confident.

RelaxoPet is a very clever ‘sound system’ for dogs that uses subliminal high sound frequencies to calm your dog mentally and emotionally.

Inaudible to the human ear, the specially configured ‘soothing high frequencies’ emanate beneath the meditative melody that we can hear.

It’s the inaudible frequencies that work to re-tune your dog’s thoughts into being relaxed, so you can watch TV, tune into the radio with RelaxoPet on in silent mode.

Last year fireworks were easier for her to cope with and this success has meant I’ve used RelaxoPet when I want to deflect from any exterior sounds that might promote barking, and calm Mr Binks too in the event of any anxieties setting in.

It’s long battery life means it can be used anywhere travelling, driving to the vets, or even out in the pub when you’re enjoying a Sunday Roast.

Ironically it’s the ‘bad’ high and low frequencies in Fireworks, inaudible to the human ear, that induce fear in dogs: these are synonymous with erratic firework explosions.

Fireworks could so easily be manufactured as more dog friendly simply by reducing their sound levels by just 30 decibels, or to make them totally silent!!

Despite Government acknowledging lobbying and over 400,000 petition signatures, its new report on fireworks and their impact on animals’ states that it could go a lot further.

It agrees that the existing law is inadequate and recommends that local authorities should be empowered to limit the number of displays through a permit system.

Plus it advises that Government reviews the noise levels of fireworks. Currently they average level is 120 decibels. That’s the equivalent to a plane taking off, whereas at 90 decibels, it’s equivalent to a car door slamming.

Last year Sainsbury’s was the first supermarket to ban the sale of fireworks. Their decision came in response to a customer’s tweet urging the supermarket to ban fireworks sales for the sake of her dog.

Congratulated by animal welfare groups with others urged to follow suit.

Tune into my podcast Episode: 21 of A DOG’S LIFE to listen to Frank Bendix who invented RelaxoPet chat how after six years in the making RelaxoPet is changing dogs’ lives.

A DOG’S LIFE is streaming on all platforms.

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