Fireworks on August 1: How do we protect our animals?

FEMINA How do animals perceive fireworks?
Philippe Bocion:
For them, these are completely unfamiliar sounds. Above all, these nuisances turn out to be neither controllable nor avoidable, hence the difficulty in dealing with them. Not being able to escape in such a situation is a problem for animals.

We sometimes forget it, but both cats and dogs have a special sensitivity to sound because their hearing ability is superior to that of humans. Dogs, for example, hear five times better than humans. Explosion noises from fireworks and fireworks are therefore very violent to experience for them, they are not insignificant.

What might be the consequences of these festive but impressive events for our animals?
This can cause them intense stress. The animal will often pant, show signs of discomfort, seek refuge in a limited place. Emotional violence will speed up pulse and breathing, but this strong stress on the body is not ideal when the animal is already bothered by high summer temperatures. We know that the cat is, in principle, a little less exposed to such stressful episodes, but it also exists in him.

The immediate risk is that these unpredictable outbursts facilitate the development of phobias. They are seen to affect a significant proportion of individuals and the likelihood of suffering from them increases with the age of the individual.

People affected by such phobias say that they feel like they are dying during these episodes, and these feelings are probably at about the same level in animals.

We also hear many testimonies from people who lost their pets after August 1, or who found them dead on the side of a road…
In fact, in an attempt to escape from these spectacular sounds, the animals will sometimes try to escape, and this panic movement often makes them forget basic precautions. Some run straight and far away, so they get lost, or cross a road quickly. They also risk getting hurt, falling by leaving a window too quickly or running out onto a balcony.

How to protect them from these explosions if they are unavoidable in the environment?
I know pet owners who have a drastic solution: they arrange to go on holiday abroad with their pets for a period that includes August 1st. Alternatively, you can similarly try to take them to a quiet, secluded country area that will be free of fires and fireworks.

However, in the event that these escapades are not feasible, it is necessary to ensure that the animal that remains at home is exposed to these sounds as little as possible. The ideal is thus to place it somewhere far from the windows, to close the blinds or shutters. To mask disturbing sounds or reduce their effect, play pleasant music that the animal knows well.

Some owners choose to keep their pets indoors between July 31 and August 2, so they don’t run away because of the sounds. Is this a good solution?
There is no absolute rule, especially for the cat, it depends a lot on the animal’s temperament. But if we assume that it’s better to avoid exposure to noise as much as possible, then yes it might be better to keep them indoors just in case, especially so they don’t cross a road.dangerous at full speed.

What position should the owner take?
If in normal times the animal has a tendency to calm down when it is petted, to get on its knees when it is scared, its owner can try to calm it by caressing it, by being close to it. On the other hand, with an animal that does not like to be touched during stressful times, it is better to leave it alone.

And in the case of strong phobia of noise, it will be noted that treatments to be administered exist and can work well to dampen the perception of explosions. This should be discussed with your vet according to the animal’s specific needs. Solutions range from natural substances to drug treatments. I remind you that this approach must be individualized because what will be relevant to one individual will not be relevant to another.

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