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Why is my dog or cat scared of fireworks and other loud noises? (Exploring the impact of past traumas, anxiety, ancestry and learned or inherited fears.)

animal behaviour animal communication animal emotions cat dog fear of fireworks fireworks scared of fireworks trauma Oct 20, 2023
Lady with a dog who was scared of noises

Your dog or cat may be scared of fireworks or loud noises for a variety of reasons. These can include past trauma, anxiety, a learned fear, an inherited fear or because of their ancestral bloodlines. In my experience as an animal communicator and animal healer, around half of the animals I have helped over the years, have had a fear of fireworks and/or other loud noises, such as thunder, motorbikes, heavy traffic or gunfire.

I find that quite often, these fears can be traced back directly to past traumas an animal has suffered. Merlin, an English Pointer was very scared of some loud noises (although surprisingly, not of fireworks!) He experienced panting, anxiety, trembling and pacing when he heard a sound that he found frightening. It could be really unnerving for his guardians, because he would run away in panic on occasion. One surprising thing that he was really scared of, was the sound of a polystyrene pizza wrapper being broken in two, so that it would fit into the kitchen bin. This sound would result in a total meltdown.

Merlin had had a traumatic past. When he was found as a stray, in an emaciated state, it was discovered that he had been shot multiple times with a shotgun. Around 50 lead pellets were found in his body. He was scared of the pizza wrapper, loud bangs in the neighbourhood, raised voices, slamming doors, road works, the vacuum cleaner and gunshots.

It was clear that this extremely friendly and happy dog was transported back in memory when he heard a noise that reminded him of being shot. It also seemed to link back to possible mistreatment in a previous home, because of the way he flinched away from so many domestic noises. It seemed that fireworks were different for him and that he hadn’t had reason to be scared of that particular noise.

Merlin found healing really helpful and he responded extremely well to Reiki, Transformational Bodywork and Applied Zoopharmacognosy and he also sought out Animal Communication, as our relationship developed. You can read more about Merlin in his Healing Story, ”Merlin a rescue dog with gunshot wounds

I’ve met many rescue cats who are scared of fireworks because they were strays and had experienced fireworks whilst living outside. One sweet cat called Roly had been shut outside of his home when a baby arrived and as a consequence, he developed a general anxiety about loud noises.

Through animal communication sessions, Roly has shown me that he just couldn’t find a place outside that seemed safe enough or quiet enough. The sound of fireworks, heard outside, felt to him as if the sky was falling in on him. He is in a loving comfortable home now and is receiving help and support for his fear of fireworks.

Sometimes, a dog or cat may have always seemed to have been scared of fireworks or loud noises, from being a puppy or kitten. I’ve noticed many times that this can be because they had an anxious birth mother. When a pregnant animal is stressed or anxious they produce stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, that are released into their bloodstream. Their unborn young shares the mother’s blood and so they too are exposed to their mother’s stress levels whilst being in the womb. This can result in a young animal being very sensitive to noises and often generally anxious.

Puppies and kittens may also learn to be anxious of loud noises, because of the behaviour their mother shows once they are born. If she is scared of fireworks or loud sounds, I’ve noticed that they often are too. This learned fear can also happen when one animal in a home is already scared of loud noises and a newly introduced animal develops the same fears, following the cues of the frightened animal.

Some of the animals I have helped with a fear of fireworks have had a settled upbringing, with a calm mother and without any known traumas in their past. Jessie, a little terrier, seemed to develop a fear of fireworks because she became scared of scooters and skateboards. Only being very small, she found the noises that those made when she encountered children on her walks, to be very frightening and for a while she developed a fear of children too by association. Her fear of fireworks developed after this fear of scooters and skateboards started.

Jessie responded extremely well to natural plant remedies to help her to overcome her fear of fireworks. Using essential oils to calm her fear of fireworks also had the wonderful result of helping her to cope with the initial scary noises of scooters, skateboards and children. You can read about Jessie in her Healing Story, “Jessie a dog with a fear of fireworks”.

Other animals I have helped with a fear of loud noises have been very “aware”. Their survival instinct is very strong and this means that “fight or flight” kicks in more quickly than with some domesticated animals. My horse Amy was like this. She was a Welsh Cob, descended from an ancestry of wild Welsh horses. This native heritage meant that she had a very enhanced awareness of her surroundings and a very strong survival instinct.

This made her an excellent herd leader, as she was able to spot a potential threat very quickly. It also meant that she was easily alarmed by loud sounds, which led to a few accidents over the years. When I introduced Amy to Applied Zoopharmacognosy, for her joint pain, she also became calmer around some of those noises that had previously scared her. You can read more about Amy in her Healing Story, “Amy a horse with arthritis.

It can be very helpful as an animal’s guardian to understand why a noise is frightening for your animal. An animal communication session can be a great way to find out more from your animal’s perspective and can often help to piece together what might have triggered or caused a fear in the first place.

Applied Zoopharmacognosy can also give you clues about how your animal is feeling, through seeing what their personal preferences are, when they are offered natural plant remedies. For example, a dog or cat who self selects rose essential oil, may be holding on to a past trauma that started in the womb.

What I have noticed, is that when an animal is given the opportunity to express themselves through communication, healing or self-selection, this often leads to them finding a calmer place and being less triggered by a loud noise.

If you would like additional support, I have some great options for you:

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