Top 10 tips in reducing noise stress for pets

Firework night can be something that we all dread as a pet owner. Seeing our pets react to loud, intimidating, and overpowering sounds can create an anxiety for both us and our pets.   

There are remedies that vets can prescribe to help relax our pets, to ease the stresses of loud scary bangs outside of the home. I have seen them in action, and they have helped and eased the high intensity reactions in some dogs. However, there are other things we can do to help our pets’ anxiety when it comes to loud noises.  

I first encountered anxiety in dogs with fireworks as a young girl. The dog in question was a rescue and suffered with severe reactions to fireworks and loud noises amongst other displays of unease in behaviour. This would often result in behaviours such as a restless disposition, ears back, hiding, panting, shaking and in some instances, toileting in the house. Obviously, these behaviours were extremely distressing for both dog and owner. 

After seeing the stress reactions from both dog and owner, I started to look at the difference it would have if owners responded differently to this displayed behaviour. Although I am hugely supportive of ear defenders and loving cuddles of reassurance, I am also aware that these approaches are not the only methods.  

So, here’s my top 10 tips on reducing your pet’s stress on Firework night: 

1. Don't react and reassure their behaviour, do not over comfort pets as they are more likely to become stressed. 

  1. 2. Create a safe place they can hide and ensure your pet has access to their favourite spot, any comfort blankets, or toys (e.g. A crate covered in a blanket) 
  1. 3. Take dogs on a nice long walk before dark (and toilet break once fireworks are over)
  1. 4. Keep your cats indoors for the evening 
  1. 5. Keep your pet distracted and engaged by playing with their favourite toys and show no signs of distress or worry 
  1. 6. Use Calming Treats or vet-prescribed remedies  
  1. 7. Close curtains and keep windows and doors shut 
  1. 8. Do noise desensitisation training where you play recorded loud noises, starting off quietly and over time you increase the noise. This will mean your dog can get used to loud bangs and noises.
  1. 9. Drown out noise with music or TV 
  1. 10. Most importantly keep yourself calm to keep them calm! 

It’s time to relax, watch a film and enjoy the night at home with your dog using these top tips! Make sure you remain stress free and in control, then you should see this same response in your dog. 

Written by Samantha Simpkin

Samantha is the ex manager of a Country Club and Hotel for dogs in rural Dorset. Samantha has kept and rescued a large number of dog's and continues to study them both in the field as well as academically. Samantha also has invested interest in equine studies having owned her own horse and working in various equine establishments from a young age.

Topics: pet care, fireworks, pet anxiety, dogs, noise stress for pets, dog stress, loud noises dogs, noise behaviour tips

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