Fireworks are a celebrated part of many festivities, from Bonfire Night to New Year’s Eve. However, these dazzling displays of light and sound can often turn into a source of distress for our beloved pets. Dogs and cats, in particular, are known to be sensitive to the loud and sudden explosions that characterise fireworks. The result? A dog scared of fireworks shaking or a cat darting for cover. In this article, we’ll explore why dogs and cats are scared of fireworks and provide practical tips on how to keep your pets calm and safe during these noisy events.
Why Are Dogs Scared of Fireworks?
1. Heightened Sensitivity
Dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans. Fireworks, with their loud booms and high-pitched whistles, can be overwhelming for our canine family members. This sensory overload is often the primary reason for their anxiety during firework displays.
Dogs thrive on routine and predictability. Fireworks are sudden, unpredictable events that disrupt their usual sense of security, making them anxious.
If a dog has had a negative experience with fireworks in the past, they might develop a fear of these loud noises. This can make subsequent firework displays even more distressing for them.
Radio Stations for Dogs During Fireworks
One effective way to calm a dog during fireworks is to create a calming atmosphere. There are specialised radio stations and playlists designed to soothe pets during loud events like fireworks. These stations play soft music, white noise, and calming sounds that can help drown out the noise of fireworks. Consider tuning in to one of these stations and adjusting the volume to a level that masks the fireworks without making it too loud for your pet.
How to Block Out Firework Noise for Dogs
To block out firework noise for your dog, you can take several precautions:
1. Create a Safe Space
Designate a quiet, comfortable area where your dog can retreat to when the fireworks start. Make this space cozy with their favorite toys, blankets, and treats.
2. Use Ear Protection
Specialised earmuffs or earplugs for dogs are available to help reduce the impact of the noise. Ensure they fit properly and do not cause discomfort.
3. Close Windows and Curtains
Reducing the visual and auditory stimuli from the fireworks can help your pet feel more secure. Close windows and curtains to block out the bright flashes and loud sounds.
How to Help Dogs and Cats with Fireworks
1. Behaviour Training
You can try techniques like gradual desensitisation to loud noises. Play recorded firework sounds at low volume, rewarding your pet for staying calm. Gradually increase the volume over time. Ideally, get in touch with your vet to formulate a plan well in advance. Last minute training may have little benefit. Perfect Pet’s expert vet, Tom Rhind-Tutt’s advice is “not to make a fuss over the pet and try and act as normal as possible, with a normal evening routine, so that they are not expecting strange things to happen”
2. Anti-Anxiety Solutions
Consult your veterinarian for anxiety-relief solutions, such as medication or supplements, that can help your pet remain calm during fireworks.
3. Calming Products
Products like Thundershirts, which provide gentle, constant pressure, or pheromone diffusers can have a calming effect on pets.
4. Stay Home
It’s sensible to keep your pet indoors when you know fireworks are likely. Avoid taking your dog for a walk that evening. Even if they’re fine with Fireworks, if one goes off nearby and unsettles them, they may react in a way they haven’t before – they could bite, bolt or just start to hate fireworks!
Are Cats Scared of Fireworks?
Yes, cats can also be scared of fireworks. While they may not express their fear in the same way as dogs, you might notice behaviors like hiding, excessive grooming, or restlessness. Many of the techniques mentioned for dogs, such as creating a safe space and using calming products, can be applied to cats as well.
Silent Fireworks for Pets
Consider looking for community events that offer silent fireworks for pets. These displays use alternative pyrotechnics that create visual spectacles without the deafening booms. This approach can make the experience more enjoyable for both pets and their owners.
Fireworks can be a source of anxiety for our furry family members, but with proper preparation and care, you can help keep your pets calm during these loud and colourful displays. Understanding why dogs and cats are scared of fireworks is the first step. By creating a soothing environment, using specialised resources like radio stations for pets, and implementing behaviour training, you can ensure that your pets stay safe and comfortable during fireworks displays. Silent fireworks for pets are a testament to the growing awareness of pet welfare during such events. Remember, the key is to prioritise your pet’s comfort and well-being, so they can enjoy the festivities just as much as you do!