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How to comfort your pet during fireworks



Pet insuranceIn the summer, millions of Americans celebrate with family, food, friends and, of course, fireworks. Cities and towns from coast to coast mark Independence Day with dazzling fireworks that seem to surpass themselves every year. For our dogs, however, these thriving celebrations can be extremely stressful and even dangerous.

Pet anxiety relief and fireworks: statistics

Pets that are easily frightened by loud noises can run away from home, be injured in traffic or even be injured by the fireworks themselves. Animal control officials estimate that a 30% increase in lost pet calls occurs each year in the U.S., between July 4-6. In 201

6, the Bakersfield Animal Care Center in a community in California admitted only 268 animals – over half of its total capacity – during the Independence Day weekend. Multiply this by thousands of communities across the country, and the scale of the problem becomes clear.

Signs of anxiety in pets

Sometimes even those of us who know our dogs can be unsure of the behavioral signs that an animal is stressed or anxious. Dogs usually express anxiety by:

  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Tucking their tails
  • Vocalization (whining or barking)
  • Hiding

A dog that is in a panic can become destructive and try to step through a door or a fence in search of escape. In any case, cats are natural escape artists, and those who are sensitive to loud noises such as trucks, thunderstorms or fireworks often seek a deep or distant hiding place, far from the crash and the barrier.

Be aware: Cats and dogs fleeing home due to fireworks can quickly become disoriented and unable to find their way back.

Soothing tips for pets

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to calm a pet that is being stressed by loud noises. If your dog is afraid of fireworks, it helps to prepare the event in advance and have a plan for your furry friend. Here are some tips on how to calm your dog during fireworks:

  • Remove the noise: Anxious dogs can often be calmed either by wrapping themselves in a familiar blanket or by a sound-absorbing garment such as Mutt Muffs (noise-reducing earmuffs for dogs).
  • Distract: Comfort and distract your dog with a toy, and reward calm behavior with treats. Getting them involved in another activity, such as working on a Kong or other treat, can also help them forget about their stress.
  • Hide: If you have cats, make sure they have a quiet and comfortable place to hide until the fireworks are ready. Most often, they will show up on their own when they feel safe. Turning on the TV or playing some soothing music can help to drown out some of the noise.
  • Medicate: In extreme cases, medication may be necessary to manage your puppy’s nervousness. Talk to your veterinarian before scheduled fireworks or festivities to determine if medication is an appropriate route. Pheromones, melatonin or other prescriptions can calm the nerves – as long as they are taken under a doctor’s instructions.
  • Get the equipment: Products such as lightning and anxiety jackets, white noise machines or a pressure vest can help calm the animal. Dogs tend to relax when they are comforted by pressure on the torso, so a hug or wrap can help.
  • Working of energy: Most fireworks shows begin when the sun goes down. Prepare for the noise by taking a walk earlier in the evening so you are not outdoors when fireworks are set off. A long walk or longer playtime during the day can help the dog to be less physically and mentally alert when the show begins.
  • Get away: Even if they are comfortable in their home and familiar surroundings, dogs can still be anxious. It may be helpful to remove them from the situation by taking a car ride in a quiet area. If they are also nervous in the car, drive to a favorite park or a familiar place.
  • Desensitize: If the first fireworks show seemed to leave your dog with some trauma and recurring nervousness, try to make it insensitive to the sound. Play some fireworks sounds around your dog and give them treats throughout the exercise to counteract them.

Prevention of loss and recovery of pets

Sometimes even our best attempts to calm a stressed pet fail, and we are in search of an escape. The time to prepare for that opportunity is before it happens with the following tips:

  • Make sure your pet carries some form of identification, such as a tag or microchip.
  • Keep your pet owner and veterinary register for your pet on hand.
  • Make a list of the shelters in your area and have it on hand. If your pet escapes from home, there is a good chance that someone will find it and take it to a local shelter.
  • Use internet sites for lost pets and even your local Craigslist can help you connect with a Good Samaritan who has taken in your pet.

Conclusion

Summer is a time of fun and celebration, but also a time of responsibility. With so many pets lost due to fear of fireworks, be sure to protect their environment. We hope that the tips we have given here will help you and your dogs to have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!

Editor’s note: Like humans, cats and dogs can be stressed by changes in their lives – from the birth of a new baby to the sound of thunder. These additional tips will help you recognize and reduce stress in pets.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat wives. Her pets are all the lifeguards, including the dog, who is afraid of the cats. She worked as a veterinary technician for eight years before becoming a writer. Today, she writes all over the web, including here at Figo, which is a partner for pet insurance with Bolder Insurance.


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