While we love fireworks, pets don’t understand why the sky lights up and why booms shake the house. Because of the traumatic nature of fireworks, many pets develop a deep fear of them. This can make the Fourth of July one of the most stressful nights of the year. Fortunately for your pets, there are ways you can ease their fear.
Would Your Pet Benefit from Your Help?
The first step to helping your pet feel better is identifying if they are struggling with stress and fear. While we are here to diagnose your pet, here are the signs to look for that indicate it’s time to make an appointment:
Signs of Pet Anxiety
- Barking, yowling, or yipping
- Shivering or shaking
- Dilated pupils
- Destructive behavior such as tearing up toys
- Making a break for it when the opportunity arises
- Clinging by your side
- Having bathroom accidents
- Hiding or cowering
- Not eating
How Can You Ease Your Pet’s Fourth of July Stress
Step 1: Schedule an Appointment with Us
Many pet owners aren’t aware that their vet can give them valuable advice, recommend anxiety-alleviating supplements, or prescribe their pet anxiety-easing medication.
If your pet gets anxious from loud noises, don’t wait until they suffer through another Fourth of July before making an appointment. Your pet’s condition can worsen over time, and you will both feel better knowing you’re prepared for the blasts and booms.
While you’re in, it’s also a great time to have your pet microchipped if they’re not.
Step 2: Create a Pet Zen Zone
Everybody loves having a place where they can close off the rest of the world and relax for a bit. And your pet is no different. Creating a noise-reduced room where your pet can snuggle down can help them get through the Fourth more easily. To make a relaxation room for your pet, try:
- Choosing a room in the center of the home if possible.
- Place your pet’s bed in the room, along with a few pillows, blankets, toys, and other comfort items. For cats, be sure the litter box is accessible.
- Keep the blinds closed. Close the curtains, too.
- Play peaceful and relaxing music. You can even find YouTube videos made specifically for cats and dogs.
- If you’re having guests over, be sure to put a sign on the door letting them know your pet should be left alone.
Step 3: Give Your Pet Plenty of Attention and Exercise in Advance of the Fireworks
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in pets (and people). So, be sure you take the time to play with your cat or walk your dog to help them burn some extra energy. This helps them sleep more soundly should they be able to fall into slumber.
Step 4: Give Your Pet Their Medication Before the Fireworks Start
The most “fast-acting” day-of medications still require at least an hour to take effect. However, most take about 1 to 2 hours to kick in. So, be sure to give your pet their medication well in advance of when the neighbors start lighting their firecrackers. Keep in mind that most firework shows will begin after sundown.
Step 5: Feed Your Pet Early and Give Them a Bathroom Break
Some pets lose their appetite from noise aversion and anxiety. Feeding them early can fill up their tummy and help them fall into a deeper sleep. It’s also a good idea to not give your pet most medications on an empty stomach, so an early dinner does double duty.
While we’re on the subject of “duty,” give your dog the opportunity to do their doody while it’s still calm outside. Once they’re in their safe room, you will want to let them relax.
Step 6: Check on Your Pet from Time to Time
Pop into your pet’s calm room from time to time without creating a bunch of noise or excitement. If they’re resting, let them rest. If they want a bit of attention, give it to them, but do not restrain them while doing so.
Take note of whether or not the supplements and other methods are working for your pet. If they remain anxious, you may need to make a follow-up appointment.
Step 7: Once Things Calm Down, Let Your Pet Come Out On Their Own
After firework shows begin to wind down, you can open the door to your pet’s Zen den. Your dog may need to go out and use the bathroom. Keep them leashed while doing so, in case they feel the sudden need to dash off.
Do not let your cat outside. Sudden blasts could cause them to flee into the road or become lost and disoriented.
Wishing You, Your Pet, and Your Human Family a Happy Fourth of July
May your Fourth of July this year be filled with fun, friends, and family. Keep in mind that even if your dog hasn’t shown signs of noise aversion, it’s still a good idea to let them relax at home instead of joining the family at the fireworks show.
Ready to help your pet find some relief from their fear of fireworks? Schedule an appointment to visit us before July 4th!
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