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How to keep your dog calm on fireworks night 2020 – four tips

Here are my four tips how to keep your dog calm this fireworks season.

Bonfire night and new year’s eve are just around the corner which can be a particularly stressful season for dogs everywhere.

Many dogs are scared of fireworks. Those unexpected loud bangs and wheezing sounds tell them that something terrible is happening and their fearful response is only them acting on instinct.

Switch your own mindset.

Before we get to the tips I want you to first start by switching your own mindset around.  Instead of approaching this as a stress limiting exercise and worrying that your dog will be upset and scared, I want you to think of this as a special night in with your dog/dogs whom you love.

There’s nothing better than to see your dog relaxed, especially during firework season. So here are my 4 tips on how you can help your dog deal with stressful situations like fireworks, create a safe zone at home and keep your dog calm.

1/ Keep the noise and flashing lights away.

You need to try and keep the noise and flashing lights of fireworks as far away as possible from where your dog is sleeping or resting. Do this by simply making sure all windows, vents and doors are kept closed but also close the curtains as soon as the time starts to approach.  If you have blinds and curtains close them all. Every layer of noise insulation helps.

2/ Reduce the noise.

So now that we’ve done what we can to reduce the noise coming into our home. Next we want to try and disguise any bangs, whistles from fireworks. Do this by putting the television or radio on. Or anything that’s going to make the impact of a loud unexpected noise less obvious. This could mean having the volume a little higher than you usually would.

3/ Distract your dog.

Again on the distracting path, play games with your dog or give him some toys. Perhaps have a new one ready to go when the time comes?

4/ Aromatherapy can help to keep your dog calm.

Aromatherapy can help to keep your dog calm.

There are products on the market that you can buy to help calm your dog. But many of these contain chemicals while others aren’t really effective. As a Vita Canis subscriber and supporter, you’re aware of how aromatherapy can help you as well as your dog. Natural aromatherapy helps to calm and balance the nervous system and restores peace.

Over the years, two products have proven to be very helpful when it comes to the fear of fireworks. Calming Floral Spray and Comfort Blend both have natural calming and balancing qualities providing ultimate relaxation for stressed dogs. 

Calming Floral Spray can be gently sprayed around your dog’s head. In the case of anxiety, you can put a few drops of Comfort Blend on your dog’s chest or her/his bed. Olfactory or sensory cells in the nasal passages are directly connected to the brain. This connection between the nose and brain enables essential oils to work really quickly and effectively. 

These products can also be used to help with motion sickness. And adjusting to new environments or visits to vets and dog groomers. Any time that your dog might need some calming stress reduction.

Try new approach and keep calm.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful and that you’re feeling less stressed about the approaching firework season. Even if you’ve heard about them before sometimes taking a new approach in how you execute them might make all the difference.

Remember… stay calm and keep aromatherapying 🙂 

What the essential oils in Comfort Blend can do for your anxious dog.

Each ingredient found inside Comfort Blend was handpicked by me to give your dog a little something extra to keep calm. These 100% genuine essential oils and aim to relax your dog as well as strengthen his nervous system.

Every drop of Comfort Blend holds:

Petitgrain essential oil.

Petitgrain essential oil is distilled from the leaves of the bitter orange tree – an evergreen tree with very fragrant flowers and native to southern China. Pale-yellow or amber in colour, it has a very pleasant sweet, floral aroma. Petitgrain essential oil is an antidepressant, a deodorant and a sedative and has a stabilizing effect on the nervous system. It’s uplifting, relaxing and great for nervous exhaustion.

Basil essential oil.

There are many varieties of Basil and each of them produces their own unique essential oil. The essential oil obtained from Sweet Basil, also known as European or Common Basil (Ocimum basilicum), is generally regarded as safe because of its chemical composition.

Basil essential oils are distilled from the leaves and flowers of Sweet Basil. In the Middle Ages, Basil was recommended for melancholy and depression and in the 16th century, in fact, herbalist John Gerad actually wrote: “The smell of basil… taketh away sorrowfulness and maketh a man merry and glad (Tisserand, R. The art of aromatherapy, 1979”).

Basil is also used as an antiseptic, an antispasmodic and a nervine and is considered to be one of the finest remedies for the brain and cephalic by many well-known and reputable aromatherapists. It’s relaxing, it clears the head, relieves intellectual fatigue and is uplifting and stimulating.

Neroli essential oil.

Neroli, a pale-yellow, light and refreshing oil with a powerful aroma is obtained from the freshly picked flowers of the bitter orange tree. This oil is often difficult to obtain and is therefore expensive. Known for its antidepressant, antiseptic, deodorant and bactericidal properties, it’s also nervine, meaning it strengthens nerves and the nervous system.

Neroli is one of the most effective sedative and antidepressant oils and is recommended for insomnia, anxiety and depression. P. Holmes mentioned in the International Journal of Aromatherapy, that, “Neroli relaxes the nerves and uplifts the spirits.”

Ylang Ylang essential oil.

Also known as Cananga oil, Ylang Ylang is obtained through distillation of the freshly picked flowers from the evergreen Cananga odorata tree. It’s a pale-yellow essential oil with a very powerful sweet aroma and is used as an antidepressant, antiseptic and sedative.

Ylang Ylang has the ability to slow down a rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing which are the symptoms usually associated with anxiety, anger and even shock, thereby creating the feeling of peace and banishing anger.

Plus few more…

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety and have you tried Comfort Blend?

Be mindful like a dog.

It’s dark and raining outside while I write this blog. Some people like this weather but it’s pretty miserable to me. The dogs weren’t impressed either when they had to go outside for their morning wee. My terriers aren’t as tough as they look like.

Saying that though, there’s still something lovely about Autumn, isn’t there?

I love the colours, I love my thick cosy jumpers and the lid fire when it gets even colder. Sometimes I feel like I could cuddle with my dogs, sip my turmeric latte or ginger tea and chill (sometimes even dose off) for days. Maybe even a month 😂. I’d hibernate like a little hedgehog or a bear. Do you feel that way too?

Time to slow down…

We are so busy running around that we don’t have time to stop, pause and notice what’s around us
 – there’s no time to slow down. Yes, it can be hard to slow down on a physical level but wherever possible we should make a point of slowing our mind down too and finding some space to breathe. It definitely takes the internal pressure off and can bring about a feeling of peace. For example, when you’re in a queue, instead of getting your phone out and mindlessly scrolling Instagram or Facebook (guilty!), take a few deep breaths, be mindful and be aware of what you’re feeling in the moment. No interpretation, no judgment, just what you’re feeling.

Our dogs are masters of mindfulness.

They are aware of only the present. They don’t overanalyse their past, they don’t feel shame or regret and they don’t anxiously think about the future. Isn’t this a nice way to walk through life? This is even more obvious when you watch a dog that’s perhaps lost his sight, hearing or even a leg.

Toby

I have a lurcher kind of dog, named Toby, that comes to me for boarding. He’s so sweet and lovable and is always happy even though he only has three legs. One of his back legs was amputated and it’s fascinating to watch the way he walks and runs. He is so happy! I sometimes giggle at the way he poos and the way he positions his three legs so he doesn’t fall when he is doing his number two. He just gets on with it! He doesn’t lament or mourn over his lost leg. My Rosie used to make me smile because when she lost her hearing she couldn’t hear me calling the dogs when I gave them treats. I’d take a treat to her and she was always nicely surprised. You could see how her little face lit up. She wasn’t sitting there overthinking her loss of hearing and perhaps missing out on treats.

Meditation and walking with your dog.

Meditation is a nice mindful practice and so is walking a dog. We can also immerse ourselves in nature, even if it’s only a town park. Leave the other business and just walk and walk and walk. That’s my advice 😉.

How to switch to natural pet care products?

Have you decided to switch to natural pet care products?

Are you having a slight panic attack?

The skin is a dog’s (and our) largest organ. It protects our dogs from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature and permits the sensations of touch, heat and cold. It also provides a natural way for the body to shed toxins. Skin rashes and breakouts are signs from the body telling us that something isn’t right.

Diet is the biggest contributor to wellbeing and feeding a dog healthy dog food is really important. By avoiding processed food in our dog’s diet and feeding them nourishing, species-appropriate food instead is, in my opinion, the best thing we can do for them.

100% natural pet care products from Vita Canis
Some of the 100% natural pet care products from Vita Canis.

Saying this though, it’s equally important what we put on their skin. The choice of shampoos, conditioners, flea and ticks treatments (and even perfumes) need to be carefully considered. Knowing this, perhaps you’ve decided to switch to a natural pet care routine. And you’re now having a slight panic attack on what to throw away and what to get instead.

When going green in your pet care it’s important to know where to start.

1) Check what you’ve got already.

There’s no need to throw away your shampoos, conditioners and other pet care products all at once. You can start by replacing them slowly once you start to run out. Replacing all the products at the same time can be a bit pricey.

2) Check the ingredient label on the insecticides you have.

When I decided to develop insect, flea and tick repelling products I wanted them to be safe. Not only for our dogs and us but also for the environment. Commercial repellents contain synthetic ingredients that repel insect, fleas, and/or ticks. Many of them have been linked to skin irritation, negative respiratory effects and rashes. Not only this but they are known to have a negative effect on bees, fish, birds and the environment in general. Find out here what to avoid.

3)  Don’t rely on the front label.

Many manufactures and marketers rely on the fact that people don’t read labels. One will find flashy bold prints on the front of the bottle claiming to be “vegan” or “sustainable”. But it’s often not the case.

A vegan product is a product without the addition of any animal products or by-products. It’s important to remember that vegan doesn’t necessarily mean natural. Some of the animal-derived ingredients are not always replaced by botanical, plant-based ingredients. They are instead often substituted with synthetic ingredients made in laboratories.

Sustainability is the ability to exist constantly. Sustainable products are those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. While protecting public health and the environment over their whole life cycle. From the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal (Wikipedia). When products are labelled as sustainable is it just the content or is the packaging sustainable as well?

4) Don’t assume that anything “natural” is also safe.

Natural and safe are not synonymous and a lot of people mistakenly think that natural ingredients are safe ingredients. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many natural substances are irritating and some even highly toxic. For example, citrus oils are phototoxic. When applied on the skin undiluted or not diluted properly and then exposed to UV light, they can cause damage to the skin that can look like a rash or even sunburn.

“The more information we have, the better choices we can make”

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