Podcast #14: Trick or treat: can training and food help pets through Halloween and firework night?

Written by Napo HQ
28th Oct 2022
20 mins listen
This week on
The Pet Perspective
, we’re going to be talking about autumn’s big holidays, Halloween and Bonfire Night, and how you can prepare your pet for the noise and activity they bring.
We’re joined by clinical animal behaviourist
Katie Scott-Dyer
, who tells us all about why the autumn holidays can seem scary to our pets, and how you can teach them to cope with stressful situations from door knocking, to fireworks, and prevent fear from forming.
This is the first of a special two-parter, and next week we’ll be hosting an episode all about Bonfire Night, and what you can do at short-notice to help keep your pet calm.

This episode of The Pet Perspective covers:

  • What makes Halloween and Firework Night so scary for dogs and cats
  • How to get your dog used to door knocking (without woofing!)
  • Helping young pets so they don’t develop noise phobias
  • Is it possible to teach older pets not to be afraid of fireworks?

Episode highlights

03:03 - Katie Scott-Dyer

"They don’t know what it is behind the door, why that door’s being banged more, because there’s trick-or-treaters there or whatever. Especially if they get to the door and the human’s opening the door and there’s all these scary people making scary noises, and it can freak them out."

04:08 - Katie Scott-Dyer

'There’s a little process called counterconditioning. It’s basically adding something in pleasant to that situation to try and help them reframe what they feel about it. It is very individual. You can do this with cats and dogs.'

09:53 - Katie Scott-Dyer

'So we want to do what we can to minimise them feeling scared about it. So either no exposure initially. Gradually introduce them to it over the coming weeks and months towards next time, and the humans in the house start wearing something different as they go about their business."

11:22 - Katie Scott-Dyer

"This time of year my cases increase for firework phobias and things. It’s scary for them, it’s unpredictable for them in the environment. It’s possibly the end of the world, in their opinion."

15:18 - Katie Scott-Dyer

'If it’s gonna be this year, you don’t haven’t got time to make them feel better. It’s going to be triaging basically. Vets is the first thing. Get them to the vets, ask about what they can do to help get through the worst of it, if necessary."

16:32 - Katie Scott-Dyer

"From a welfare perspective, getting that help sooner rather than later is going to be better for the animal and for you. Because the longer it goes on, the harder it gets."

19:32 - Katie Scott-Dyer

"Quite often, in cases where they’ve got noise sensitivities - about 82% I think is the right number - have got an underlying clinical cause that's causing the anxiety. So it’s always better to seek advice first before trying to do everything yourself."

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