NOVEMBER 2009

HI THERE,

Yes, it is the end of yet another year. Time absolutely flies. Unfortunately this time of every year also brings a lot of stress for our canine friends. With Guy Fawkes Day and the festive season just days and weeks away we once again have to appeal to all responsible dog owners not to participate in the fire-works frenzy. Dogs have incredible hearing capabilities and fire-works exploding must sound to them like an atomic explosion. Some dogs are more scared of fire-works than others and we see their tragic stories in the newspapers every year. Please take care and be responsible.

The following tips might be useful during the festive period:

- Don't take dogs to places where there may be fire-works. There is no place like home when you are scared and afraid. And of course, you need to have your family round for comfort.
- If you plan to be away from home, leave your dog in a quiet, protected area inside your house. Turn the radio or TV on to dim some of the noise outside. Animals left in the yard, may attempt to break out when scared, often injuring themselves on fences or getting run over by vehicles.
- If you are at home with a frightened dog, do not reinforce its fear by showing sympathy or pampering it. It is important that you remain calm and appear undisturbed by the noise - "the pack leader is not scared". Then try to distract its attention away from the noise. Practice some obedience routines or play a game of fetch, etc. Use positive reinforcement - praising it for every command that the dog successfully execute.
- Make sure that your dog wears an identification tag on its collar - with your correct telephone number! (No use having an outdated telephone number on the collar.) This is the quickest and easiest way to get hold of the owners, in case the dog gets lost. Microchips and tattoos are fine, but take into consideration that during a holiday period you might not get hold of the relevant information regarding the owner until the next working day.
- Get a sedative from your vet - this medication is harmless and will help keeping an animal calmer during these stressful times.
- During the Christmas and New Year period, the local SPCA's are normally open 24 hours a day to admit injured or lost animals. There is usually somebody (who stays on the premises) available at the SPCA's to accept lost / stray animals.
- Some vets also provide a 24 - hour service during the festive season - get the particulars of one in your area and keep it at hand.
- Get involved in anti-fireworks campaigns. Even as an individual you can do something.
- Talk to your neighbours before the festive season and decide on a plan of action should your neighbours belong to the nutty squad who needs noise to celebrate.
- If at all possible - be at home with your animals! Pet-sitters are not always that trustworthy - they often want to go out and celebrate too.
- If at all possible - be at home with your animals! Pet-sitters are not always that trustworthy - they often want to go out and celebrate too.
- If at all possible - be at home with your animals! Pet-sitters are not always that trustworthy - they often want to go out and celebrate too.
- Your fire-work-freaks will always be around and no amount of complaints or legal action is going to stop this activity overnight.
- Report the illegal selling of fire-works to the SAPS explosives unit. Fire-works are regarded under law as explosives and are to be sold only under very strict regulations. The guy on the corner selling fire-works at traffic intersections definitely does not comply with the law.

Please!!! As dog lovers - do not participate in setting off fire-works!!! Rather file charges against those who do! There is a legal way to deal with it. Relevant telephone numbers are usually published in the media - be on the lookout for that. You can normally contact the fire brigade, the SAPS bomb squad (who deals with the illegal storing or selling of fireworks - like street hawkers), Metro Police or you can file charges at the SAPS.