Why are dogs and cats scared of Fireworks?
Fear of loud noises, such as a firework display, is a very common phobia in both dogs and cats.
Dogs’ and cats’ hearing is up to 3x more sensitive than ours and their noses are up to 100x as sensitive as ours. The combination of the decibels and the smell of the smoke from fireworks can send dogs’ and cats’ sensory system into massive overdrive! This overstimulation can cause intense feelings of panic in pets that can make them do behaviours that they normally wouldn’t (like running away from home).
Apart from the smell and sounds, animals may also perceive senses that humans cannot and this can further add to the sensory overload they experience at times like now.
Companion animals are generally creatures of habit, and with fireworks comes crowds and there are a lot more people in the local neighbourhood celebrating the end of the year. There are also many more cars in the area and these changes can add to the hysteria many animals suffer.
The sound of the fireworks will trigger your pet’s nervous system and they often try to run away from the noise, as a survival instinct.
Common signs to look out for that indicate your pet may be feeling anxious include the following:
- Clinging to their owner
- Barking / meowing excessively
- Panting or Drooling
- Pacing around the house or restlessness
- Cowering and hiding
- Soiling themselves inside the house
- Attempting to escape
What to do to prepare for fireworks?
Over 500 dogs every year escape their homes in Australia due to the anxiety caused by end of year fireworks celebrations.
While you’ve taken in the above and will do everything to make the night as stress-free as possible, there are a few things you need to do to ‘hedge your bets’.
1) Ensure your pet’s microchip is updated with the NSW Companion Animals Register. You can do this using the online self-service function of their website at www.petregistry.nsw.gov.au. This way if the worst thing happens and they escape your property, they can be easily identified and you can be reunited as soon as possible
2) Get a pet ID tag with your contact details engraved – this is the quickest way for members of the public to identify your pet and return them to you
3) Remind guests who are coming over to leave doors and gates completely shut to avoid your pets escaping
4) Make sure to contact your vet to give them your pet’s microchip number so in the event your pet ends up their they will know who they are!