An animal’s anxiety will build over time, so noise phobias will often get worse with age. Therefore, changing these behaviours will also take time, often several months. There are a few things you can do at home to prepare your pet for the upcoming fireworks, and some things you can work on for a more long-term solution.
What to do on the day:
Walk your dog earlier in the day, feed them a little earlier and make sure they are locked inside.
Allow your dog or cat to go to its preferredsafe place and don’t fuss over them! If you act differently, they will know, so try to act as normally as possible. You can still reassure them, or talk calmly, just don’t coddle them.
Try a Thunder Jacket for your pet. These are tight jackets that can make your pet feel more safe and secure.
Provide them with a distracting treat or toy, like a Kong Ball or LickiMat, before the fireworks start. This will keep their mind off the upcoming event and hopefully distract them whilst it’s happening.
Provide them with soothing background noises, like classical music, the TV or the radio. Don’t make it too loud as this could distress them as well.
Once the show is over, make sure your pet is completely relaxed before letting them outside again. If possible, keep them in overnight, as any loud noise (like a car backfiring) could scare them into running away.
Desensitization with fireworks sounds means playing these sounds very quietly from your phone or the TV. This is best done by providing a distraction (treat or toy) so their mind is focused on something else. Once your pet is used to the quiet sounds, you can slowly increase the volume over several weeks. Be sure to monitor your pet’s reaction to the sounds, if they run away or are overly distressed, immediately decrease the volume to a comfortable level.
Adaptil or Feliway are synthetic calming hormones that can help to reduce anxiety if an animal is exposed to them over several weeks/months.
Calm diets or Calmex supplements are designed to reduce your pet’s anxiety over time. These products, as well as Adaptil and Feliway, are over-the-counter products and do not require a consultation or prescription to purchase. We stock all these products in our clinics, just ask our friendly customer service team to help you locate them!
Behaviour modifying medications take several weeks/months to become effective; there is no medication that will ‘cure’ an animal’s anxiety overnight. Most of these medications can cause sedation, therefore we recommend trialling some of the other options first and resorting to these products only if necessary.