For many pets, Independence Day and the days surrounding it are the most stressful time of the year. It’s hot, busy, and the world is exploding at night! (Often in spite of fireworks bans.) Since we can’t explain to our pets that the fireworks are celebratory and not threatening, here are some ways to help them get through it. These are also good tips for later in the year if your pet is fearful of thunderstorms.
There are many supplements available for calming pet anxiety, some specifically for times like this, when loud noises are the culprit. We are proud of the selection offered at Lovable Pets and always happy to chat with you about your pet’s needs and what might work best. (We’ve used these ourselves, after all!) A few of our most popular brands are: Herbsmith, Supersnouts, Animal Essentials, Aldaron Essences.
Many people find that the Thundershirt works wonders. It calms pets by applying gentle pressure (much like swaddling an infant.) Some dogs do need to be acclimated to wearing a Thundershirt. So, if you’d like to try one, buy it in time to follow Thundershirt’s instructions on acclimating your pet. It can take a few weeks of short periods wearing the shirt in the absence of anxiety to get them ready. We carry the Thundershirt at both store locations.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone
These products are exactly what they sound like – pheromones that dogs can smell which calm them. (There is also a cat version!) The products are usually available in a spritzer (for spraying beds, crates, or a bandana) or a diffuser (plugs into the wall like an air freshener.) A quick Google search for dog appeasing pheromone will bring up multiple options and where to purchase them. Our staff has had some success with this brand during stressful times for their pets.
Play Music or the TV
This seems simple but for some pets, having a radio or TV playing in the background to drown out the noise is effective. This is especially helpful if the human family is leaving the house to watch a fireworks display or attend a BBQ.
Check Your Gate and Fencing
When anxious, our pets can act very out of character. A pet that has never left your side before could get scared and jump the fence. So this is a great time to inspect your fencing and gates! Check that there aren’t any spots where your pet could squeeze out and make sure your gates are latching securely. If you’re having company over, make sure your guests are aware of your pets so that doors don’t get left open by someone new to your household.
Have Microchip Checked and Ensure ID Tags are Readable
If the worst happens and your pet escapes, you’ll be glad you took the time to check this item off the list. Call your vet or the local shelter to see if there’s a time when they could scan your pet’s microchip to make sure it’s still working. This could also be a great time to check with your microchip company to make sure your address and phone numbers are all up to date.
Make sure your pet’s ID tag is still legible and replace it if not. If your pet usually doesn’t wear a collar around the house, you might consider leaving it on them for the week surrounding July 4th or during thunderstorms. If you can’t find their ID tag at the last minute, write your info. on their collar with a Sharpie.
Don’t Force It
Lastly, don’t force your pet to participate in your holiday festivities if they are afraid. We all love to be with our pets, but if being in the backyard with all your BBQ guests at night causes stress, don’t force it. Keep your guests and your pet safe by putting them in their crate or in a secure room. Many pets would prefer to stay home in bed rather than attend a fireworks display with you, even if they are allowed. In the end, keeping them safe is the most important thing. Include them in pet-friendly activities (like a trip to Lovable Pets for some dog ice-cream) later!