January 30, 2014

Just a little reminder for people living in areas where people will be celebrating Lunar New Year with fire crackers and fireworks tonight and over the next few days. Many animals find this very scary. Keep your pets inside and take measures to minimize the impact. Here are a few suggestions:
Close curtains and leave the lights on.
Play music or tv to create background noise (don’t play Natural Born Killers or anything with explosions or screaming – the idea is to promote calmness and a feeling of safety).
If your pet has a ‘safe den’, ensure it has access to that area, and block it from external light as much as possible. If your dog is crate trained, laying a blanket or towel over the crate will darken the crate and help to muffle the sound. Draping a blanket over a desk or table might work as an impromptu den – put the dog’s bed and some toys and treats/chewies in there to encourage it to go in.
Try to act unconcerned by what’s going on – the more you can show them it’s no big deal, the better.
Burn lavender or chamomile oil in a diffuser.
Add some Rescue Remedy to their water bowl, or put a drop or two on a treat. You can buy R.R. specifically for pets, made without alcohol.
Thundershirt is a special jacket that exerts gentle constant pressure and can be effective for reducing anxiety.
Short notice for tonight, but for future reference, many dogs respond well to Dog Appeasing Pheromones which are available as a collar, spray, or diffuser. You will probably have to buy these online, and there seems to be a restriction on the spray in HK.
Take your dog for a good long walk/play session before it all starts, a tired dog will be less anxious.

Kung Hei Fat Choy, and best wishes for the Year of the Horse!

Jill Eason has lived and worked in Hong Kong for many years. She runs 'For the Love of Dog' with the aim of helping HK's dogs and people get the best from each other. Jill holds a Certificate of Canine Studies from the Seattle School of Canine Studies, Washington USA.