Generally we humans don’t like noise that much (unless you’re a teen with an ipod!). But it generally doesn’t scare us because we’re familiar with certain loud sounds like fireworks, storms, thunder and so on. In other words we are conditioned not to feel threatened by noise we understand.
Animals, however, don’t know and can become terrified. Their fear can trigger an escape reaction that causes them to run away and get lost or injure themselves along the way. This fear response is particularly the case with dogs and small animals like rabbits. Cats, being more self-sufficient, will generally find a hiding place and stay there until they feel secure enough to emerge. It is best, however, to make sure they are in the house, not outside.
How can you protect your pet from unavoidable situations?
If you’re going to a fireworks display close by, prepare your dog physically by giving it a good bout of exercise to tire it out, then give it a good meal and settle the dog in a comfortable spot, preferably indoors.
If you’re at home when the noise starts, be it fireworks or a thunderstorm, don’t fuss over the dog. Close the blinds so lightning or firework flashes don’t compound the problem and try to provide distractions, like a game of fetch or playing with the dog’s favourite squeaky toy (a sound they are accustomed to and like). If your dog generally sleeps in a closed room like a laundry, put it there with a favourite toy, blanket or pillow, even if it is not bedtime.
And then there’s the ultimate solution – a bone. It would be rare for any dog to refuse a nice bone to chew on for hours. (Personally, I favour the bone strategy.)
Finally, in case your dog bolts in terror, make sure that it is identifiable. Micro chipping is a real safeguard with your contact details on the Australian Animal Registry. Have them on a tag on the dog as well.
It’s hard for us to fully grasp how really scary loud unexpected noise can be. Try to be a dog in that situation. It’s like World war III has suddenly erupted. So be mindful of the effect and be kind to your woofer.
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