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Fireworks and our Pets

Whether it is New Year's Eve or 4th of July, fireworks are often a part what we do to celebrate some special occasions.  However, our furry family members don't have a clue why they are hearing lots of loud noises and smelling some unusual smells.

First, we must recognize that we understand what fireworks are and that they typically don't last long.  They are fun to watch, particularly when set to music as many of the larger firework displays are.  

However, our pets don't "get" that!  All they know is what they experience at that time, because our pets live in the moment, and those sudden loud noises are NOT pleasant to them at all.  Think about how you react to unexpected loud noises!

Some pets become anxious before or during thunderstorms, but it is not the same as firework anxiety because our pets get a little warning before storms. They can detect changes in the barometric pressure and hear high winds. However, it is quite normal for our pets to be frightened and/or become anxious during our celebratory occasions, like 4th of July or New Year's Eve due to the very loud noises and erratic pattern of the fireworks being discharged.  Remember, they hear things much louder than we do due to their incredibly keen sense of hearing.

Here are 10 suggestions to help allay fear and reduce anxiety in your pets:

  1. If possible, try to exercise your cat or dog earlier in the day of the fireworks.
  2. Keep your pets inside during fireworks and make sure they have a safe place somewhere inside your home if they want to hide.
  3. About 1-2 hours prior to the time you expect fireworks to occur, turn on a sleep machine for some white noise and gradually increase the volume.
  4. Close all the windows and curtains, if possible.
  5. Play some soothing music made for cats (Music for Cats by David Teie) OR dogs (Through a Dog's Ear by Lisa Spector) or just turn up the sound on your television or radio - smooth jazz or light classical is usually best.
  6. Consider getting an Anxiety Wrap, the original canine wrap for dogs, or a Thundershirt for dogs.  There are also calming "shirts" for cats as well.
  7. A topical product for dogs is Canine Calm, an all-natural mist from Earth Heart, Inc. and Pet Essences.com carries products which can be used in the pet's water or applied to the skin for transdermal absorption.
  8. If you can start ahead of time (recommended), you can utilize a noise desensitization program for dogs or cats.
  9. No matter what time of the year it is, please make sure your pet is microchipped, or has some sort of ID, if they run away and become lost.
  10. STAY CALM!  Since our pets pick up on our state of mind and mood, don't freak out if you start to see some fear or anxiety in them.  Staying in a more Zen state of mind is very beneficial to our 4-footed family members (and us!) and it doesn't cost a dime!

posted on 12/30/2017