Penygraig, Rhondda Cynon Taff, CF40 1EA
Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm

Firework Fear

Most of us dread the month of November as of course it’s firework season. Fireworks are the most common sound phobia, at least 52% of dogs and 34% of cats are reported to be afraid of fireworks

Fireworks are the most common sound phobia, at least 52% of dogs and 34% of cats are reported to be afraid of fireworks. Animals hearing is far superior to ours, our range is about 20 feet, theirs is 80 feet. As humans we understand what the noise is, but for our pets, fireworks are completely random, they don’t understand what they are, or where they are coming from.

Signs of stress in dogs

  • Trembling & shaking
  • Clinging to owners for reassurance
  • Whining or barking
  • Drooling
  • Digging
  • Pacing & panting
  • Lip licking / Yawning
  • Facia tension / wide eyes

Signs of stress in a cat

  • Unusual over-excitement
  • Quiet
  • Increased alertness
  • Soiling in the house
  • Refusing to eat or take treats
  • Not responding to toys / play
  • Ears down or facing backwards
  • Awkward stretching or shaking

helping your pet

Ideally prevention of a sound fear should occur with a young pet during the socialisation phase to ensure they cope appropriately.

We would like to share with you some tips on how to help your pets during this period.

Always keep your pets indoors, especially cats, dogs should be walked early on in the day to get rid of some energy so they can settle better in the evening.

Pets should never be left alone, this will only increase the level of anxiety and fear.

We would highly recommend that your pet is microchipped if not already, just in case they managed to get out of the house.

Keeping the general mood of the house should be normal and calm, or as normal as possible, animals can sense our emotions and pic up on our actions, therefore if we are anxious or stressed, or something doesn’t seem right, it will only reassure the animal that there is something to be worried about.

Never punish your pet for being scared, it will only make the situation worse, if your pet approaches you for support, then of course be supportive without being too over the top, we know it’s the hardest thing not to pick them up and cuddle them, but there is a fine line of offering support and telling them its ok to be scared, a stroke on the head or along the back will be enough.

Building a den is a great idea, but ideally it should be prepared a few weeks before, so your pet associates it with being a safe place, place some treats in there every now and again to encourage use, once your pets start using the den, make sure not to disturb them too often.

Cats love cardboard boxes and also love being high, so a box or an igloo type bed up on top of a wardrobe is ideal. If your pet already has a favourite safe place then that can be used, just add more blankets to make it nice and cosy.

For the house, close all the blinds and or curtains, close the windows, this will help drown out the noise, and keep the television or radio on for noise distraction.

If your pet is dealing with the noise relatively good, only start playing with them, once they are calm.

Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and ferrets are less likely to show fear, however this does not mean that they are not scared, therefore being indoors is better, or move them into a garage or an outhouse. If this is not possible then a thick duvet to partly cover the cage, always making sure there is adequate ventilation, this will help muffle the noise somewhat and reduce the flashing lights. Extra bedding and even a cardboard box to allow them to burrow will also make a bid difference, and remember to check on them at regular intervals.

Always check your gardens for spent stray fireworks, before letting your pets out.

The use of pheromones can help in these circumstances, just give us a call and we can guide you through the products available.

sound therapy

Planning early is the key, and this is vital to help your pets tolerate this period, the dogs trust have a desensitisation programme called sounds scary, it’s a series of noises that get played in the background during your normal day.

Click the link below to download the programme, there is also a booklet which we advise to read first before using.

What is desensitiasation

Desensitisation is the gradual and controlled exposure to the feared stimulus.

The three stages are

  1. Patients – Desensitisation takes a least 8 weeks of daily sessions to get the best results
  2. Positivity – Ensure your pet is les likely to relapse in the future by then associating the noise with something positive
  3. Persistence – For long term desensitisation, continue your pet’s resilience to loud noises and maintain the association of sound with positivity.

Remember we are always on the other end of the phone for advice 01443 700972, we understand it’s a stressful time, and we would like to help in anyway we can.