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How to keep your pet happy during thunderstorms and fireworks




Fireworks are a brilliant way to celebrate special occasions such as New Year's Eve and Guy Fawkes Night, as well as big sporting events and independence days 'ď right? Not if you happen to be an animal. All animals, domesticated and wild, are hardwired by evolution to find loud noises frightening. It is an automatic response to an unidentified threat, which may cause the animal to bolt before the brain has had time to process the information the ears are presenting. The only way in which the response can be changed or reduced is by training, desensitisation or habituation to the noise.
It's easy to see why fireworks and thunder are so frightening to animals. They are loud, sudden and send shock waves through the air and the ground. In technical terms they activate the auditory startle response. You might expect that dogs, cats and other domestic animals would be better able to tolerate the scary nature of fireworks since they are used to sudden loud noises, but many dogs and cats spend Bonfire Night and New Year's Eve in a state of terror. A study in the UK found that up to 49% of owners reported that their dogs were afraid of noises, and fireworks were the number one cause.

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