Fireworks and noise phobias

Pets fearing fireworks 

Loud bangs and flashes in the sky can be very frightening for animals.  They can cause anxiety resulting in destructive behaviour inside the home or even a pet trying to escape and run away.

Many fireworks displays now acknowledge this and use lower noise fireworks however there are ways to to help your pet feel calm and secure.

Signs of animals fear responses

  • Full-body shaking or trembling
  • Whining or vocalising
  • Hiding under furniture
  • Demanding attention and permanently at your side
  • Restless and pacing
  • Urinating or defecating inappropriately
  • Attempting to get out of the property or run away
  • Chewing objects they shouldn’t

Preparing your pet for fireworks

If your pet has previously shown signs of fear of fireworks, or you have a new pet that may not have been exposed to these sounds before, it is best to prepare early.

Create a safe environment: If you are aware that fireworks will be happening on certain dates build a den/hiding space in an area they usually like to be, this encourages them to feel safe.  Build it in the corner of a room or crate; a space where there is only one entrance and a roof to help the animal feel as secure as possible. Pack it with familiar smelling blankets or bedding so that they can retreat to that space.

Having the radio or television on loudly to block out the noise of fireworks will also help.

Secure your home: Make sure all windows and doors are firmly shut and that cat flaps are locked. Ensure they have no way of escaping or to harm themselves by trying to escape. Take time to be sure sure your garden is secure when letting dogs out to the toilet and close any curtains to reduce the flashing lights coming through.

Walk early: Walking your dog in the daytime or earlier than usual means they will hopefully not encounter any fireworks while outside. Longer energetic walks in the day can help make them feel sleepier for the evening.

Keeping your pet entertained: Using long lasting chews and toys can help to keep your pet  distracted. There are lots of different brands you can use. Kong toys have the ability to be stuffed with liver paste, peanut butter or yoghurt and can be frozen to make them last longer. You can also use snuffle mats or lickimats.

Comfort your pet: It has often been said that comforting your pet when they are experiencing a stressful situation reinforces the fear. But if your pet is wanting reassurance some comfort, then provide that as it can help them remain calm and feel protected.

Calming products: There are lots of different calming and pheromone products which will help create a more relaxing environment. From plug-ins and sprays, to capsules that can be sprinkled on the food. Examples include Adaptil, Feliway, Pet Remedy, Nutracalm, Yucalm and Zylkene.

There are also prescription-only medications which your vet may recommend for pets who become very distressed with fireworks and noise. Please make an appointment to discuss this with them.

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