How can I calm my ter­rier who is afraid of fire­works?

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my six-year-old Jack Rus­sell, is ter­ri­fied of fire­works and thun­der. She pants and shakes when­ever she hears them. I have had her for a year (she’s a res­cue dog) but she is the most ner­vous dog I’ve ever had. Have you any sug­ges­tions? ATHERE

are lots of com­mon-sense things you can do. A bed in a cup­board which can serve as a hid­ing place could help Dolly. Draw­ing the cur­tains early and putting the ra­dio or tele­vi­sion on is also a way to di­min­ish the bangs and crashes. It is im­por­tant to stay calm when she is panting and not make a spe­cial fuss of her as this may re­in­force her be­hav­iour.

There are sev­eral tran­quil­lis­ing drugs avail­able from your vet. Cur­rent think­ing is that tra­di­tional drugs, al­though calm­ing, do not re­move the feel­ing of ter­ror so a cer­tain amount of trial and er­ror with more mod­ern drugs may be re­quired.

I think the bet­ter op­tion is a com­bi­na­tion of a dog ap­peas­ing

Olive (77), Es­sex pheromone dis­penser, avail­able from your vet. This re­leases a nat­u­ral chem­i­cal which is sim­i­lar to one pro­duced by a bitch to calm her pups. There is also a CD de­signed by vets, spe­cial­is­ing in be­havioural prob­lems. This would “de-sen­si­tise” Dolly by grad­u­ally ac­cus­tom­ing her to loud noises.

I feel it’s the best so­lu­tion long term. In­for­ma­tion on this ap­proach is at www.soundss­ Se­da­tion need only be used on a few re­ally

noisy nights. David Grant MBE has been a vet for 41 years and works at the RSPCA Harmsworth Hospi­tal for An­i­mals. Write to him at Ex­press Your­self, 10 Lower Thames Street, Lon­don, EC3R 6EN. He is un­able to en­ter into in­di­vid­ual cor­re­spon­dence.

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