Remember, remember...how could you forget....it's firework season!
Good news if you are a pyromaniac; not so good if you are a dog with anxiety issues.
Apparently more dogs go missing around this time of year and New Year's Eve (also the 4/5th July in the States) than any other time. So here's a little blog with some hints and tips about keeping your dogs safe and calm this weekend (and beyond).
Download and play some firework noises in the house today and tomorrow to desensitise your dog to the sounds. Have a really good frolic around together at the same time so they associate the noise with a happy time.
Whichever day your fireworks display is, make sure you take your dog for a long walk in the daytime. If they're tired out they'll be more likely to sleep through it.
Set up their crate and give them a secure place to retreat to. Cover the crate with a sheet so visual stimulation is kept to a minimum and fill the crate with blankets and toys so they feel comfortable, protected and safe from harm.
Check with your neighbours to see if they are planning to set off fireworks. If so you might like to make a hasty retreat to a friend's house in a galaxy far, far away.
Maybe this year stay at home with your dog rather than attending the fireworks display. They'll feel much happier and calmer if you are there to soothe and distract them.
If your pyromania has gotten the better of you, when you do go out close the curtains, fill a kong or two with treats and put the radio or TV on louder than you normally would to help keep them distracted.
I saw a brilliant idea on Pinterest. It's a wrap or bandagey-looking thing that you put around your dog to reduce stress. It works on their acupressure points apparently. I'll definitely be trying this on my three.
There are also sprays and plug-in dispensers that are said to calm anxious pets.
Unfortunately for some dogs their anxiety is so acute that nothing seems to actually work. If that sounds like your situation it may be time to talk to an animal behaviourist about the best course of action.
So, whatever you're up to this weekend, and throughout the festive season, give your dogs all the reassurance they need in what can be a terribly stressful time for them.
And don't forget to stay safe yourselves.