Fourth of July and fireworks go together like… cats and their naps! Fireworks are fun for us humans to “oooh and ahhh” over, however our furry friends may not feel the same. It is common for loud noises like fireworks and thunderstorms to cause anxiety and stress in our pets. Keeping them calm can be a challenge – but with some patience and dedication, it can be easier than we think to help ease their uncertainty.
Symptoms of firework anxiety or noise phobias include pacing, cowering, shaking, hiding, and wanting to be close to another animal or person. Below are some tips that may help both you and your pet enjoy the 4th of July holiday worry-free!
For mild-to-moderate symptoms associated with loud noises like fireworks and thunder, here are some options to alleviate anxiety:
- Keep them indoors.Make sure your pet is safely indoors during fireworks. Close all doors, windows, and curtains to minimize the sound and flashes of light. If possible, stay with your pet to provide comfort and reassurance.
- Create a safe space. Set up a comfortable area where your pet can retreat to. This can be a quiet room or a crate covered with a blanket. Make sure the space is familiar to your pet and include their favorite toys, bedding, and maybe even an item of your clothing that has your scent.
- Provide background noise. Turn on some calming music or play white noise to help drown out the sound of fireworks. The soothing sounds can help distract your pet and reduce their anxiety.
- Use positive reinforcement. Before the fireworks start, engage your pet in activities they enjoy. Play with them, give them treats, or provide interactive toys. Positive reinforcement can help shift their focus away from the fireworks and associate the loud noises with positive experiences.
- Stay calm and relaxed. Pets can pick up on their owners’ emotions, so it’s important to remain calm and composed during the fireworks. If you act anxious or nervous, it may increase your pet’s anxiety as well. Provide a reassuring presence and speak to your pet in a soothing tone.
- Tuck them into a Thundershirt. These work by applying gentle pressure to the pet, in much the same way you might swaddle a baby. Thundershirts can work very well for dogs and cats that respond to it, but it can be hit or miss in my experience. The company claims an 80 percent success rate.
For moderate-to-severe cases, talk to your veterinarian about the following options:
- Try a supplement. Many supplements are available online and at pet stores that don’t require a prescription. As with most behavioral issues, each individual pet responds differently to different supplements, so one pet may have a great response to a product and the next pet may not be helped much at all. Prescription medications tend to work better than supplements in most cases, but supplements alone may help many pets. Zylkene, for example, is a supplement that contains casein, a hydrolyzed milk protein which has been identified as an option to help keep pets calm.
- Ask about medication. Consult with your veterinarian about medication options that may help reduce noise-related anxiety for your pet. If your veterinarian has prescribed your pet a medication, make sure to have their prescription refilled before the 4th of July holiday, as many pharmacies are often closed.
* All products mentioned above are not sponsored nor have an affiliation with ReadiVet. We simply just love these products!