How can I calm my pets during fireworks? | The SunNovember 4, 2022
BONFIRE Night is a celebration many look forward to, but for our pets the loud noise can cause panic and fear.
So, how can you keep your pets calm during the firework festivities? Here's everything you should know to keep your fury friends as safe and relaxed as possible.
How can I calm my pets during fireworks?
Fireworks are well known for their stressful impact on pets, with dogs being the most disturbed by the loud noises.
If your pets are nervous or panicked by fireworks, there are a few things you can do to help them remain calm this Bonfire Night.
- Play relaxing music to your pet – Classic FM's pet classics is a massive hit.
- Walk your dog when the sun is up to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off.
- Move your pets to a safe place before the fireworks begin, such as a bedroom or cage.
- Provide toys and other stimuli to occupy their attention and avoid leaving your pets alone.
- Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound and bright lights of fireworks.
- Put on the TV to mask the firework sounds. Regular beats can help mask the sound of loud bangs.
- Stay calm. If you get very anxious or comfort your pet more than usual, this can make your pet more unsettled.
- Never punish your pets. It’s not their fault they’re scared, and it adds to their anxiety.
- You could also talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers – these devices disperse calming chemicals into the room.
- You could also contact your vet and they may prescribe medication for your pets.
Dog-lover, Duncan James and Burns Pet Nutrition has committed to help "pawrents" with his six-hour music video called Pet Sounds, which has been specially designed to help keep dog's calm.
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Dog behaviour expert, Rosie Bescoby has shared how owners can prepare their pooch for the firework festivities.
Prior to celebrations where fireworks will be let off, Rosie suggests playing firework recordings to dogs when they are in a relaxed, snoozy state.
"It's important to make sure you do this when they are relaxed and settled but not asleep," she said.
"Over the month you should then gradually increase the volume.
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"It means on the night the dog doesn't even realise the noise of the fireworks as they have become de-sensitised.
"You can also play drumming music like African drum or drum and bass over the year."
If you have cats, you should make sure they stay inside with somewhere to hide if they are nervous.
Draw curtains to shut out flashes and put the radio on.
If you have a rabbit who lives outside, try to cover their hutch or bring it inside if possible.
Make sure that smaller animals have plenty of bedding and again, leave the radio on or have music playing.
What to do if my dog starts barking uncontrollably during fireworks?
Barking at fireworks may seem like a strange reaction for your pup to have but is a natural expression of fear or anxiety.
If you find your dog barking excessively, you should try to distract them as best you can.
Try encouraging them to play with toys they enjoy or find a quiet space away from the loud noises and bright lights.
If your dog is prone to more barking, try to take your dog somewhere away from any potential firework displays during the busy time.
There are over-the-counter products, such as calming collars and plugins, which claim to help dogs feel calm during periods of high stress or anxiety, however, you should speak to your vet before using any OTC products.
If you’re really concerned about your dog’s fear of fireworks, it’s worth speaking to a vet to see what options are available.
Are there any pet-friendly fireworks?
The RSPCA website estimates that 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.
It’s never a good idea to take your dog to a fireworks display, and most indoor fireworks are unlikely to be dog-friendly too.
BUT pet-friendly fireworks do exist and they're becoming increasingly popular.
Some supermarkets have launched special ranges of low noise fireworks without the screeches and bangs.
You can find these at retailers such as Asda, Tesco and Morrisons.
And Sainsburys have even banned the selling of fireworks, due to the impact on worried pets and the problems they cause the environment.
In the UK, Fantastic Fireworks hosts silent displays at venues close to wildlife or livestock frequently allowing quiet fireworks only.
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The World Health Organisation lists 120 decibels as the pain threshold for sound for dogs and humans.
Fireworks are typically higher than 150, and sometimes as high as 170, which doubles as a good excuse to cuddle up with your pup during Bonfire Night celebrations.
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