Vet’s opinion: Paul Manktelow

Fireworks can be terrifying for pets. Here are my tips for preparing for firework season:

• Play rap music. It masks the sounds of fireworks with its monotonous beat. Or use pet desensitisation CDs in advance. The pre-recorded fireworks noises familiarise your pet with them before the real event.

• Create a panic room. Pets love a safe place to hide. Recreate a den, line it with blankets, familiar toys and nice-smelling items such as family clothing.

• Use pheromones. Diffusers and sprays that emit specific dog and cat pheromones help to calm your pets. Use them in your pet’s safe hiding place for several weeks beforehand.

• Keep calm. Trying to reassure your pet can make the problem worse as it rewards the fearful behaviour. Act normally so your pet will learn that there is no reason to be afraid of the noise.

For pets with very serious noise phobias I’d advise getting professional behavioural therapy. For more advice on preventing and managing fireworks phobias in pets: pdsa.org.uk/fireworks

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