Fireworks season – incorporating the recently commemorated Guy Fawkes Day, Diwali on Sunday and New Year’s Eve – is upon us.
Fiona Miles, the director of global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, recently described what fireworks sounded like for a pet: “The average dog’s hearing is four times more acute than a human, and cats are even more noise-sensitive than dogs.
“The overall effect is comparable to the thunderclaps and lightning of thunderstorms, which often provoke a fear response in animals (astraphobia). Fireworks are closer to the ground than thunderstorms, so the impact can be more overwhelming. What’s more, the lights and noises are accompanied by acrid smells.”
She said sometimes one negative experience of fireworks could be enough to trigger noise phobia in a pet.
“Periods when fireworks go off repeatedly, usually during festivities such as Guy Fawkes Day, Diwali and New Year’s Eve, can reinforce an animal’s adverse reaction to noise over time. Studies have shown that even young dogs can develop a fear of fireworks.”
From CBD treatments to vet-prescribed tranquillisers, there are many forms of treatments that are advised over this time. One of which includes music, known to help in soothing the nerves of animals during fireworks.
Here are a four things to consider while trying to help your pet:
1. Choose the right type of music: Soft, slow-tempo instrumental music tends to work best for calming pets. Classical music or specially composed pet relaxation tracks can be effective. Avoid songs with loud or sudden bursts of sound, as they can potentially add to the stress.
In an article by Pooch&Mutt, a UK pet food company, they suggested paying attention to the right balance of sound for your pet and even developed a data-driven playlist to help.
2. Familiarity and repetition: Play music that your pets are already familiar with during peaceful times. This can create a positive association and help them relax during stressful situations like fireworks.
3. Volume control: Play the music at a moderate volume, loud enough to mask the fireworks, but not so loud as to overwhelm your pets. The aim is to create a pleasant background noise that distracts them from the unsettling sounds of the fireworks.
4. Calming playlists and apps: You can find pre-made playlists or apps specifically designed to help relax and calm pets during stressful situations. These playlists are curated with suitable music and often incorporate elements like nature sounds, which can further aid in relaxation.
YouTube is a great place to find different playlists for both dogs and cats, while APPs like Apple Music, Spotify and Sound Cloud also have varied playlists – some are freely available, while others may require you to sign up for an account, if you don’t have one already.
The varieties are endless and its best to pick a playlist better suited to your fur babies’ temperament. Remember, different pets may respond differently, so it's important to observe your pet's reaction and adjust accordingly.