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Still be prepared for Fireworks 2020 – Desensitisation to sounds

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
As mentioned in our previous post, this year is likely to be very different with respect to firework displays, with potentially an increase in smaller household displays.

If your pet suffers with anxiety around this time of year, it is important to prepare early. These pets will have a heightened ‘fight or flight’ response to fireworks causing a behavioural response.

Anxiety in pets can be corrected by desensitisation and counterconditioning approaches.

Noise desensitisation is the first process of this behavioural correction, the aim is to lower how sensitive a pet is to a particular noise.

Start by playing the noise your pet is sensitive to, such as the sound of fireworks, at a low volume and gradually increase by a small level each time. At each noise adjustment, make sure to wait for them to settle before increasing again. If your pet becomes agitated, reduce the volume again until they are settled.

Noise desensitisation is ideally completed as a gradual process over a period of a few weeks, and once complete you can begin implementing the counterconditioning stage. Look out for our post later this week.

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