The Vet Experts
How to Prepare Your Pets for Fireworks
Fourth of July might be over for this year, but we have several more fireworks related holidays in the coming months like Labor Day and New Years Eve, and it's important to know how to prepare your furry family members for the big booms and scary sounds.
Many animals find fireworks frightening. According to estimates, 45 percent of dogs fear fireworks. That said, there are many simple ways to help your pet cope with fireworks.
How to Calm Your Dog During Fireworks
Before the start of firework season
Dogs can be helped with their fear of fireworks by planning ahead. Make sure your dog has a safe place to go before the fireworks season begins. You should make sure that this area is quiet. Choose one of your quietest rooms and give your dog control. When your dog is in this area, don't interrupt them.
Your dog should associate positive experiences with the area you choose. You can leave your dog's favorite toys in there but don't force them to play. You can give your dog a variety of chew toys such as Kongs and bones. Keep them entertained by changing them often and putting toys away when they are not in use.
Dogs will eventually learn to enjoy this safe place and may go to this space themselves when the fireworks go off. They know that no harm will come to them there and will be better prepared to handle it. Your dog should have access to this safe place at all times, even when you are not there.
When the fireworks begin
Walk your dog on a leash during daylight hours to relieve themselves before the fireworks begin.
Take your dog to the safe place before the fireworks start. Give them toys and other items that they like and make sure they dog have plenty of activities to keep them busy.
Use curtains and closed windows to drown out the sound and blackout your dog safe haven, so that they don't see the flashes from outside.
Use music or TV to cover the firework sounds.
Don't make any firework noises. You can play with a toy to test if your dog is interested in joining the fun, but you shouldn't force them.
Talk to your regular veterinarian or your emergency vet about pheromone diffusors. These diffuse calming chemicals and may be a good choice for calming your dog. Sometimes, your vet might even prescribe medication to keep their nerves at bay.
That said, it is important that your dog learns to be less fearful of loud noises over the long-term. This will make the next fireworks season less stressful for both you and your dog. This can be achieved with behavioral therapy. Sound Therapy for pets is a helpful option to help your dog become less afraid of loud noises.
How to Help Cats Afraid of Fireworks
Create hiding spots around your home, such as under furniture or quiet corners.
Do not try to tempt your cat, this will make them more stressed.
Keep them inside as cats can get stressed out if they are outside watching fireworks.
Microchip for your cats in the event they get startled and escape.
How to Help Small Animals when Fireworks are Going Off
Cover outside pens and cages with blankets to soundproof and hide, but leave another area open for animals to see.
Use bedding to allow small animals to burrow.
You might consider bringing them inside. This will take time so plan ahead.
Keeping Horses Safe during Fireworks
Not only can animals be afraid of fireworks, but horses can be as well, and because they're outside animals, this can be difficult on them. For horse owners:
Check in advance to make sure there are no firework displays near your location.
Speak to the organizers. If possible, inform the organizers of fireworks displays that horses are nearby and ask them where they intend on setting them off.
How to Deal with Firework Phobias
Fireworks phobias are treatable and pets don't have a need to suffer from it every year. Your wellness care or emergency vet can provide advice and refer you to a professional animal expert if need be. Be sure not to punish your pet if they are scared, as this will only make matters worse.
For more questions about how to keep your pets safe or to schedule a routine wellness check for your furry family member, reach out to us directly: (941) 896-9420