Why are dogs and cats scared of fireworks? An animal communicator’s perspective.Oct 13, 2023
Sitting on the beach to watch the summer fireworks over the sea is quite something. There is the anticipation, the excited chatter from the kids and the adults, the shuffle as everyone finds a comfy spot. The fireworks are beautiful, mesmerising, and exciting. The boom that is created by the explosion, echoes across the water, magnified. The very last firework is always the biggest and it’s astonishing just how big a boom it makes and it’s just incredible how much the landscape is lit up by it. In general, we, as humans, find excitement in the random nature of fireworks, because not knowing when the next bang will come is part of the excitement.
For many animals though, who don’t understand or anticipate the many firework seasons we now have, this is a time of fight or flight, of reacting to or hiding from the bangs and flashes of fireworks. The random nature of them is terrifying. The loud bangs, screaming sounds and whistles are unpleasant. The childlike thrill that I used to feel about fireworks was tempered long ago, by the realisation that so many animals are simply unable to cope with them. I now turn my attention on sending healing out to the wildlife and to animals who are being adversely affected by fireworks. Whenever I hear fireworks, my healing switches on.
An estimated 50% of dogs and cats in the UK are scared of fireworks. There have been many studies and surveys and in one undertaken by the Kennel Club, up to 80% of dog guardians noticed a change in their dogs’ behaviour on hearing fireworks. 50% of dogs and cats is a staggering number of animals trying to cope with noise sensitivities, every year at seasonal fireworks times.
I’ve been sending healing out for many years now and I think the number of animals being affected is increasing. This could be because there seem to be so many more occasions when people celebrate with fireworks and because there seem to be so many huge fireworks going off. I can remember as a kid, that the home fireworks would sort of fizz and sputter, as they were launched from a glass milk bottle! I can’t remember big bangs apart from a few bigger fireworks at the one annual firework display held in a field on the edge of town. What we see now is that fireworks are not limited to one or two nights a year anymore and the fireworks themselves are so very different than they used to be 40 years ago. They are incredibly loud.
If you consider that a dog can hear sounds up to 4 times further away than human ears can and that cats can hear a very large range of frequencies and the quietest of sounds, it’s not really any surprise that the sound of fireworks is overwhelming for them. How many more bangs do they hear than we hear? How many additional sounds do they hear within each bang than we can detect?
As an animal communicator and healer, I have helped many dogs and cats who have a fear of fireworks. These are some of the more common experiences they have shown me. Not every animal experience all of these, but in extreme cases, some have:
- A sense of total overwhelm.
- Emotional and mental exhaustion.
- As if something is pressing on their heads.
- As if something is closing in on them from above.
- A sense of pressure.
- Feeling threatened.
- Feeling nauseous.
- Feeling completely vulnerable.
- A sense that nowhere is safe.
- A desire to escape.
- Feeling disconnected from what is going on around them.
- Finding that they are unable to receive comfort.
For those animals who are scared, it’s like their world has been turned on it’s head and they just don’t know what to do with themselves. They may run, hide, pace, pant, sweat, vocalise, refuse food and water, pee and poop in terror, have digestive upsets, bite, scratch, be inconsolable, or be completely unreachable because they have gone into survival mode.
It’s awful as an animal guardian to witness this and if your animal is affected you may be dreading the upcoming firework season. So, what can you do to help your animal?
Be prepared. I’ve noticed that being prepared is a very key thing if your animal is scared of fireworks. Think about the ways you can reduce the stress and plan ahead, getting safe spaces ready, buying treats and toys, choosing relaxing music and planning to walk and feed your animal earlier than normal. Find out when the bigger displays, local to you, are happening.
Sign up for my free healing sessions for animals with a fear of fireworks.
Get some support by booking in for a chat with me in a free discovery call.
Know that you are not alone and there is a great deal of helpful advice around. Chat to your vet if your animal is very scared. The awareness of how fireworks affect animals has increased enormously and this means there is more support for the animals and their guardians who are affected. Please feel that you can reach out for support.
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