Fireworks - and coping with loud noises

There's nothing like the marvel of fireworks or the beat of loud music for us human beings but for many pets it is not all fun and games.  Spontaneous loud bangs and explosions, and even unexpected noises such as the screeching of a tradesman's power tool can send some pets into a frenzy and others into trembling balls of fur.

Here are a few tips to help your companion cope with fireworks and loud noises.

  • Keep your pet in a confined area - loud noises can make pets panic and in an effort to escape from the threat (the noise) they may even try to escape from their backyard.  We recommend keeping your pet inside or out of harm's way when you are expecting loud noises in and around your backyard. Particularly if there are fireworks displays planned in nearby parks and community areas.
  • Distract your pet by leaving a radio on. Or, if your pet is calm enough, offer them a food dispensing toy to distract them from their distress.
  • Move fragile items and protect favourite furniture pieces - some pets will show signs of destructive behaviour in their effort to move away from loud noises. Moving delicate items and furniture will help to protect your pet from harm if they are driven into a frenzy.
  • Acknowledging your pet's distress (e.g. cuddles, picking them up) will only encourage their feelings of anxiety.  Ignoring them can be difficult but is often the best method as long as they are not endangering themselves or others. By ignoring your pet you are reassuring them that there is nothing to be concerned about. Keep it positive; never scold or punish your pet as this will make them fearful of you.
  • Relocation - if all else fails, try relocating your pet to a safe haven.  A friend of family's house or a place where they will be sheltered from the noise.
  • Ask us for more information about progressive desensitisation, a process whereby dogs learn how to tolerate loud noise.

Most importantly, make sure your pet has adequate identification - just in case they do escape, make sure your pet can be clearly identified with a pet tag as well as a microchip.