Signs of fears and noise phobias
Different pets will react differently, so it is useful to recognise when your pet is feeling frightened.
- Hiding away (behind sofa, under a bed)
- Becoming clingy (not wanting to leave you)
- Not eating
- Panting and pacing
- Vocalising (barking or meowing more than normal)
- Trembling or shaking
- Soiling in the house
- Destructive behaviour
Is there anything I can do?
- Pheromone products release natural, calming chemicals which help to reassure your pet
- Calming food supplements produce peptides that temporarily bind to certain receptors in the brain
- Medication prescribed by your vet can be useful in more severe cases of noise phobia, on a short-term basis.
- Making some adjustments to your behaviour and your pet’s environment can make your pet more comfortable when the firework season is due to begin:
- Walk your dog during daylight hours
- Keep cats indoors and block any cat flaps
- Feeding a good sized, carbohydrate-rich meal, late afternoon helps to make your pet feel content and sleepy
- Make sure the environment is as safe and secure as possible
- Be careful, even the most placid pet can behave unpredictably when frightened
- Close the curtains when it starts to get dark to minimise flashes from the fireworks
- Close all windows and doors to deaden as much sound as possible
- Put on the TV on or play some music at a comfortable level to mask the sounds of the fireworks
- Provide plenty of toys for your pet and begin play before the fireworks start to distract your pet
- Create a comfortable, secure refuge for your pet with plenty of familiar bedding and toys. Your pet will probably already have a place or room that they like to spend time. Take your pet to their refuge place 2-3 times a day, several weeks before the season begins, to get them used to it
- If possible, small pets that are usually kept outdoors should be brought indoors, with extra bedding so that they can burrow. If you are unable to bring the hutch inside, then cover it with thick blankets to deaden out the sound. Ensure that there is enough ventilation for your pet
- Never punish or shout at your pet when they are frightened. This will only confirm to them that there is something to be scared of and make matters worse
- Ignore any noises or flashes yourself
- It is best to ignore fearful behaviour and try to appear happy and unconcerned. Try to engage your pet in some form of play as a distraction instead but, don’t expect too much from them
- When your pet is scared, it is tempting to cuddle and comfort them. Don’t. This gives the impression that there is something to be scared of and rewards them for being scared. Your pet may also come to think that you are the only one who can comfort them when they are scared and may panic if you are not there
- Only show attention and affection when your pet has begun to relax
Long term help for your pets
Noise phobias can be treated using behavioural methods called desensitisation and counter-conditioning. Specially made recordings of fireworks are used at different levels and intervals to train pets not to react to noises that they fear.
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Please talk to us for more information and advice on the best products for your pet.