With the upcoming 4th of July Holiday, I thought, I share these tips for keeping your pet calm and safe during fireworks.
For many pets the loud noises and the smell of fireworks are very frightening and statistically there is a huge increase in lost pets during this time of year. Even pets that usually won't run from home can get so panicked that they run away.
Image credit: Flickr
1. Exercise early in the day
Plan ahead and don't take your dog out late in the evening. Most celebrations are after sundown, but these days fireworks are being sold to the public, so more and more families are using them throughout the day. Walk your dog early on, and if possible, away from neighborhoods where people might set off fireworks.
If you have a yard, play with your dog earlier in the day and provide plenty of exercise.
2. Provide a secure place indoors
Most dogs will feel secure being at home. If you plan to have a party at your house, or if you plan to go out for the celebrations, it is best to put your pets in a closed off room. Make sure all the doors and windows are closed and leave some music playing. Some people leave the TV on but consider that many TV stations will broadcast the celebrations, so that could mean your dog is getting a front row seat to all the loud parties.
If your home has a pet door, be sure to close it. Even the calmest pet can get panicked and might run outside to get away from the noise.
3. Allow your dog to pick a hiding spot
4. Provide extra calm if needed
If your pet is extremely sensitive and very frightened during the loud fireworks, consider the calming help of a Thundershirt for your pet. You can purchase many great thundershirts online or you can even make your own. See the instructions below to make a calming wrap using a long strip of cloth:
Other calming help can come from essential oils, such as lavender oil, which you can gently rub onto the dog's fur around his neck for aromatherapy, or CBD oil, which you will administer orally. I have used a product called Restful Pet in the past with great success. This product uses natural Chamomile, Valerian and Hemp oils to reduce stress and anxiety. There are many natural ways to help calm your pet, but there are also medications your vet can prescribe for your pet.
5. Desensitize your dog to loud noise
lf your pet is highly sensitive to loud noises, you may consider working slowly on training him to be more comfortable about them. This won't happen overnight, but it is possible to help pets overcome their extreme fears by exposing them gently to the things they fear.
To do so, you will provide a comfortable and nurturing training environment and provide positive association with the noise. Get some recorded firework sounds and play them at very low volumes while you feed your dog. Slowly increase the volume once the dog has become calm around the low volume noise.
You will also want to be sure your dog wears his ID tag and that you have a recent picture of your pet- unfortunately many pets will run away from home during fireworks. Even if you take all precautions, it's best to be prepared in case your dog does run away.
I hope the information provided is helpful to you and I wish you and your pets a Happy 4th of July!
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