For many people, wrapping up warm and heading out to a fireworks display is one of the highlights of autumn. But the unpredictable bangs and flashes can be at best confusing, and at worst, genuinely terrifying for our four-legged friends, with a PDSA survey highlighting that 4 in 10 dog owners and over a third of cat owners believe their pets to be afraid of fireworks.1 It’s horrible seeing our pets in distress, but there’s lots you can do to help your pet feel calmer and more secure this noisy November; read on for our top tips!
While it’s common (understandable, even!) for our four-legged friends to be scared of fireworks, there’s a world of difference between a pet that feels a little anxious, and one that is truly terrified. If, despite all your best efforts, your pet is still a trembling wreck at this time of year, you may need some extra support.
Your vet is the best first port of call, and may suggest referring you to a pet behaviourist who can talk you through some strategies to help. Once such approach is called “sound therapy”, where pets listen to very quiet recordings of fireworks (or other sounds they find frightening). The sound volume is very slowly increased over time, and pets slowly learn that the sounds don’t pose a threat. This process takes time though, and can’t be rushed, so it’s best to start once firework season is over, in preparation for next year’s celebrations!
Fireworks may be the symbol of celebration for many of us, but for our pets, they can be a real source of stress. Taking steps to make sure your home is a safe haven for your pet can make a real difference, but if your four-legged friend is really struggling, don’t suffer in silence; your vet can support you and your pet to help you have a calmer firework season next year!