Every year, on November 5th, dog owners are advised to keep their pets safely locked indoors during Bonfire Night. The loud bangs and flashes caused by fireworks can be very startling and upsetting for pets, so keeping them out of the way is the best thing for them. However, the RSPCA are today appealing to all dog owners to make preparations for November 5th by using a form of sound therapy on their dogs.
In 2007 the RSPCA received 940 calls from dog owners relating to fireworks, which is twice the figure they received eight years earlier in 1999. As a result, the RSPCA is suggesting to dog owners that they use a ‘Sounds Scary CD’ therapy pack to condition their dogs to the noise created by fireworks. The CD has been created by Sound Therapy 4 Pets.
The 2-CD set contains firework sounds such as exploding rockets, fizzes and bangs similar to those heard on November 5th. The CDs also contain louder bangs such as thunder claps and gunshots.
It may sound like a form of pet torture, but the CDs are designed to help dogs acclimatise to the sounds generated by Bonfire Night. Mark Evans of the RSPCA stated:
Fireworks and other loud noises are a source of great anxiety for many dogs.
This year, the RSPCA’s fireworks campaign is encouraging people to help treat and prevent their dogs’ fireworks fears using the Sounds Scary CD – a scientifically proven therapy tool.
We want owners to help their dogs become less afraid of fireworks noises well in advance of the fireworks season, rather than attempting and often failing to provide short term fixes that have no long-term benefit.
Treating dogs that are afraid of loud noises takes time and commitment from owners, but can transform the welfare of the animal. The more time spent now will be rewarded by the time Bonfire Night comes around.
When using the CDs, dog owners are advised to start playing them quietly so that the dogs get used to the sounds. By increasing the volume gradually from now until November 5th, when the dogs will hear Bonfire Night for real, they should be used to the volume experienced by loud fireworks.
Finally the sounds generated by the CD should be associated with something that the dog finds pleasant. This way, when the fireworks are set off for real the dog will not be suffer any anxiety.