Fireworks give you a ruff time? Irie does it for us, dawg
Reggae and soft rock are most likely to soothe frightened pets, say researchers
Concerned about your pooch’s wellbeing as annual fireworks season fast approaches?
It seems a dose of UB40, or perhaps some Bob Marley, is likely to make your mutt feel irie.
With Diwali and Guy Fawkes celebrated in the first week of November, concern by pet owners over the safety of their animals usually reaches fever pitch around this time of the year.
But if the University of Glasgow’s research is anything to go by, reggae music and a bit of soft rock are most likely to soothe frantic mutts afraid of the noise emitted from fireworks.
Dogs at a rehoming centre in Scotland were initially played classical music for one week, to determine the long-term effect.
“Interestingly, following seven days of treatment the positive effects of classical music seemed to wear off, possibly indicating that the dogs had habituated to the auditory enrichment.
“Therefore, in our next study we aimed to determine whether providing the dogs with a variety of musical genres could help maintain the initially positive effects on dogs stress, seen with classical music,” researchers said.
In a follow-up study, 38 dogs were played five different genres of music, including classical, soft rock, Motown, reggae and pop.
“Positive effects were detected for all genres, but were slightly more noticeable during the soft rock and reggae playlists.
“Although providing a variety of different genres helped maintain the positive effects, there was a mixed response to different genres. This suggests that dogs may not specifically have a taste in music, but there may be certain sounds which appeal to them and make them feel relaxed, as well as sounds which scare them,” the study found.
Farrah Khan Maharajh, of Durban-based NPO Feeding the Furballs, said her animals preferred the likes of Muse and Linkin Park.
“We play certain music and they become accustomed to those particular songs. I think they become familiar with the beat and it calms them.”
Maharajh advised pooch-lovers to select music that will “drown out the bangs”.
“But start playing it now so that they become used to it. It’s also important to be with your pets, especially if they get very scared. Talking to them will also help sooth them,” she said.
According to the NSPCA, more family pets "will run away from home during holidays involving fireworks than any other days of the year".
"Many domestic animals are frightened by loud noises, particularly the loud bangs and piercing sounds produced by fireworks. To avoid distress you should take appropriate measures to ensure the wellbeing of your pets. If you are unsure as to how your pets will be affected, note that animals that are sensitive to thunderstorms are likely to react similarly to the noise of fireworks," said NSPCA spokesperson Meg Wilson.
Tips to keep your fur babies safe In case your pets are frightened and run away, make sure your animals have identification tags or microchips to ensure they are returned safely;
If possible, stay home with your animals if you suspect fireworks fiends are about;
If you can't be home with your animals, keep them inside. Make sure your pets have access to their favourite "safe place” or find a quiet, comfortable, enclosed room where they can "hide". Make sure they cannot break through a window or slip out of a door;
Try to mask any noise by drawing curtains and playing calming music at a reasonable volume;
Put familiar and comforting things around them such as toys and baskets;
Give them with something to do, such as a chewy bone or lots of catnip or a catnip toy;
If your pets do react badly to fireworks, get advice from your vet ahead of time. Giving your pets a hearty and nutritious meal around nightfall will make them more likely to be sleepy.