FFrom shelter pubs and soundproof dens, to soothing Spotify playlists and pheromone diffusers, desperate pet owners are turning to a number of unusual techniques to try and appease their anxious pets during Bonfire. Night.
Growing awareness of the distress caused to animals by pyrotechnics has led to a growing backlash against fireworks in recent years. Sainsbury’s stopped selling them in 2019, and other supermarkets have increased their low noise or noiseless offerings this year.
Despite this, the RSPCA expects a record year for appeals regarding animals in distress. A recent poll showed that with so many fireworks canceled, 52% of the public will attend unofficial home exhibitions, up from 41% in 2020 and 23% in 2019.
âOur pets’ senses are very sensitive and they can pick up vibrations and sounds that we humans cannot,â said Anna Ewers Clark, veterinarian at the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals charity. âSo fireworks are not only loud for them, they also cause quite a sensory overload.
âThey also don’t understand where the noise is coming from. It’s a perfect storm of factors that can be very overwhelming and scary for them.
This year, Pets At Home launched three playlists on Spotify – soft rock, reggae and classical – for owners to play for their pets, a technique that can provide a “buffer” against the sound of fireworks. outside, Ewers Clark said.
In reality a pub in Manchester said he would increase his music in order to muffle the noise of the fireworks and create a “safe haven” for the dogs on Friday night. The dog-friendly New Grove Inn in Whitfield said it will also offer special dog treats to help the dogs get through the stressful evening.
To make sure the animals get a night as stress-free as possible, Ewers Clark recommends the following tactics:
Dog-focused music is becoming big business, and there’s even research on what kind of music animals prefer – a 2017 study by the The Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow discovered that reggae and soft rock were the best genres for reducing stress, barking and heart rate in dogs.
âBuilding a den or a safe place works very well for a lot of pets,â Ewers Clark advised.
But also don’t forget about small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. âA lot of small pets will really benefit from having a place to hide, maybe blankets or hay. This will help muffle the noise and also give them that sense of security. “
âThe pheromone diffusers and calming supplements are absolutely fantastic,â said Ewers Clark. “But unfortunately they often take a little while to kick in.” Using them once an animal is already stressed has little effect, she said.
“I would recommend buying them immediately and putting them in place for the New Year.”
Insensitivity to noiseisation
For particularly struggling pets, Ewers Clark recommends contacting a behaviorist to help your dog become denser to sound over time.
âWe basically play the sounds at a very low level, so your animal doesn’t react. And then we do counter-conditioning, where we tie it to something that’s really, really positive, like a treat or a game, âshe said.
âSo they don’t just learn that noise isn’t scary, they learn that it’s actually a fun time. And you can gradually increase the noise level until it is similar to the real thing.