Many people associate the Fourth of July with relaxation and fun. They enjoy a day off and watch fireworks. Fireworks can cause stress in dogs, cats, and other pets. The reaction of a pet can vary from mild (wanting comfort or to hide until the noise stops), to severe (breaking down barriers or being destructive). There are many ways to help your pet get through fireworks.
Fireworks and Pets
Some pets seek shelter in dark places when fireworks begin. To help your pet cope, find a dark place that is not easily accessible, such as a closet or a covered crate with blankets. If your pet is not responding to your comforting, you can continue to talk to him but if he doesn’t respond, leave him alone. Some pets will choose to stay put for the duration. We need to respect this choice. To make sure your pet is healthy, you should check on him every now and again.
For your pet who decides he wants to be with us, these are some suggestions to ease his anxiety and discomfort:
- To muffle the sound, close the curtains and windows in the room you are in.
- You can add some background noise slightly louder that the normal volume. Do not force your pet to listen to the background noise at full volume. This could increase their stress.
- Run a fan. A fan’s vibration and sound can mask any unpleasant sounds.
- Give your pet a chew toy. Some pets find chewing on something to relieve their anxiety.
- Wrap your pet in a blanket to provide comfort and safety.
There are many products that can help pets stay calm.
- Thunder Shirt: This product is snug like a T-shirt, and gently pressures the pet to calm it. So that your pet isn’t stressed out, you can teach it to wear the ThunderShirt at a calm time.
- Pheromones can be used to lower anxiety in pets. Flyway and dog appeasing pheromones are for cats, and Feliway is for dogs. There are many options available for these products, including sprays, collars, diffusers, sprays, collars, and collars. You can then choose the right product for your pet based on your situation. Give your pet the chance to feel the pheromones first before any stress-producing events occur.
- Calming music: There are many CDs and collections available that provide soothing sound and music to ease anxiety in pets. Check out the company called Through a Dog’s Ear (throughadogsear.com).
Training in Counter-conditioning and Desensitization
You can also use desensitization or counter-conditioning training to lessen your pet’s distress. You can use CDs of city sounds, such as thunder and lightning, to help your dog become less sensitive to noises that cause fear or anxiety. These CDs can also be purchased from Through a Dog’s Ear. Start by gently playing the CDs, then increase the volume to make sure the dog doesn’t react. Counter-conditioning is a technique that can be used to calm your dog’s fear. You can give him a long-lasting and enticing treat, such as a Kong or his favorite chew, while the CD plays. It can create a positive emotional response by your dog if he only receives the best treats when the CD is playing. To devise a detailed training plan for desensitizing and counter-conditioning, consider enlisting the help of a relationship-based dog trainer or behavior consultant.