Though fireworks can be fun and are a tradition to most 4th of July festivities, some pets are very scared of fireworks. According to national statistics, animal control officials across the country see a 30-60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and 6th. In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters. So what can be done to help our furry friends feel safe? Here are some tips that may help. Remember that some fireworks will start prior to the 4th of July so these tips can be started days in advanced as needed.
Keep your pet indoors. Even if your city does not allow fireworks, there is enough fireworks shows and people that will still light them and your pet will hear these sounds. Remember that their hearing is much more sensitive than ours. While indoors, you should have the radio or television on. This can help drown out some of the sounds. Make sure that if you are not going to be home that you set the channel to something that your pet is used to listening to that also is calming. Do not leave it on a station showing a movie marathon of the Terminator filled with gun blasts and car crashes. Also do not leave it on a Firework Spectacular show. The point is to drown out the sounds going on outside.
Make sure your pet has proper identification. Since more dogs go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year, you want to ensure that they have their collar and tags on. Also ensure that their microchip information is registered and up to date. Even if you are at home, your dog, if very scared will figure out a way to escape. Some dogs may not even listen to you when you tell them to come back. Their focus is on getting out of there to somewhere they think may be safer.
Keep calm yourself. Pets are very smart at sensing “something is up”. Though you want to comfort them if they do panic, the calmer you are with them, the safer and more relaxed they are going to feel. Give them some extra belly rubs, treats and use positive praises like “good boy”, this will make them feel better. Avoid repeating phrases like “it’s okay” as the majority of time when this phrase is used it is because something is not okay to them, they may think “What’s okay? Why is she saying that? Last time I heard that is when I went to the vet to get neutered!” They may get more nervous.
There may be the need of additional assistance with supplements and products that can give your pet a calming affect. They make special vests that can be placed on your dog to help reduce stress. A common one used is called a Thunder Shirt. There are phermone products for dogs that can help. Nursing mother dogs naturally produce an appeasing pheromone. The pheromone provides reassurance to the puppies, helping them to feel safe and secure. Clinical studies have demonstrated that a synthetic analogue of the dog appeasing pheromone helps provide reassurance and comfort to dogs. These come in the form of an area spray, a room diffuser and a pet collar. There are also calming treats with ingredients like Chamomile Flower, L-Tryptophan, Melatonin and more. A new product named Sileo is a gel placed on the dog’s gums that will help to calm dog without the effects of sedation. All of these can be started days in advanced prior to the fireworks.
Some dogs may need something stronger. Sedatives can be prescribed by your Veterinarian if you have tried the alternative calming products with no luck. There are many safe sedatives that can help your pet get through the evening. We recommend that if you do decide to go with sedatives, that you are at home to monitor your pet as their senses will be lower so they may need some assistance. Also plan ahead, most Vets are closed on the holiday so ensure to get in your prescription request early as some pets may need an exam prior to filling the prescription.
The more you work with your pets ahead of time, the better. If other loud sounds throughout the year give them severe anxiety, then working with them to become more comfortable around loud sounds is going to be beneficial to them. Some sounds can be downloaded like fireworks or thunder and shared with your pet. If you choose to desensitize your pet with these recordings, start 2 months ahead of the time you are concerned about. If they hear this more often and steps are taken to help them remain calm through these too, by the time the real fireworks come on the 4th of July, they may not be as scared as they were before.
We are here for you and your pets to assist in any way that we can. Our Veterinarians can meet with you and your pet to evaluate which products may be the best for them. We want to give you the tools to help keep your pet healthy and happy!
Pet Hospital 3411 E. Chapman Ave. Orange, Ca. 92869 (714)771-3261 www.PetHospitalOrange.com