Sound desensitisation recommendation


Sound desensitisation is a proven way of managing sound related unusual behaviours in dogs and cats. It involves exposing the animal to various loud and different noises in a controlled way. The process of desensitisation can vary from a few weeks to several months but has proved to be successful in helping pets become less sensitive to sounds and noise such as fireworks, thunder & lightning and gunshots.


Lots of different sounds can cause your pet to be uneasy. We have provided a sound desensitisation guide below to help your pet to cope with fireworks. You will need speakers and volume control on your PC or tablet to make use of this programme.


Hints and Tips • Do the sound desensitisation in various rooms in the house – sounds in real life are unpredictable. • Have different people present during different sessions, and do it at different times of day.  • If possible, include outside as one of your “rooms”. • Go at your pet’s pace – it can seem very slow but if you rush it the programme won't work.  • Don’t react to the noises yourself. • Don’t carry out the programme when fireworks are likely to occur e.g. Bonfire Night or New Year.  • Freezing treats and chew toys can help them last longer.  • Zylkene can help support your pet while carrying out this process and maximise your chances of success.  • Ask your vet or qualified behaviourist for more advice on helping your pet cope with fireworks.  • This program should be carried out ideally 6-8 months in advance of any events occurring such as Bonfire Night.  FIND OUT MORE


The programme is comprised of three different tracks:


  1. Component firework sounds
  2. Complete fireworks sounds
  3. Complete fireworks display


Make sure you play all the tracks without your pet present first, then you'll know what to expect.


Finding the starting volume


The starting volume is the highest volume your pet will tolerate without any reaction. This sound may be very quiet, don’t worry if you are barely able to hear it.


1. Make sure your pet is settled and calm with a long lasting treat or toy


2. Play the component sound track at 0 volume


3. Slowly increase the volume (remember there are gaps between the sounds, don’t increase too quickly) until your pet shows a mild reaction e.g. ear twitch


4. Turn the volume back to where your pet did not react – this is your starting volume. It’s a good idea to write this down.


5. If your pet shows an extreme reaction yet you can hardly hear the sound, please consult your veterinary surgeon or qualified animal behaviourist.


Starting the programme


1. Make sure your pet is settled and calm with a long lasting treat or toy in a room where he feels comfortable.


2. Play the component firework sounds track at the starting volume as established above.



3. If your pet DOES show a reaction to the sound:

   a. Switch off the track

   b. Do NOT interact with your pet in any way

   c. Try again later at a lower volume and when your pet has completely calmed down.


4. If your pet does NOT react:

    a. You may reward this calm behaviour

    b. Play the track for a minute then stop

    c. Play the track again later or the next day at the same volume,

        but increase the duration by one minute.


5. Continue this exercise daily until the pet is relaxed throughout the whole track. Each track will loop automatically so you can play it for the desired amount of time (10 - 15 minutes).


6. Each session can be performed many times each day as long as your pet is relaxed when you begin each session. At least one session per day should be carried out.


7. Start the process again at step 1, but at a slightly higher volume. Again start with one minute sessions and gradually increase the length in one minute increments.


8. Keep increasing the volume in this slow and controlled way until your pet is relaxed when the track is played at a realistic volume. Make sure they are relaxed with this track at this volume 2 or 3 times and at different times of day before moving on to the complete firework sounds track.


9. Begin the whole process again with the complete firework sounds.
Remember to check the volume setting before you start



10. Once your pet is happy with a complete firework sound at a realistic volume 2 or

      3 times and at different times of day, move on to the complete firework display.



Remember to check the volume setting before you start.