Summer is finally here, and with it comes fireworks season. While the Fourth of July is just one day of the year, it never hurts to know how to keep pets calm during fireworks. Many of the same tips you might use for fireworks can apply to other aspects of your pet's life as well. Thunder and other loud noises can scare just about anyone, but for animals, the boom of fireworks practically signals the apocalypse.
Many of us have experienced the frustration of watching our pets pressed into a dark corner, ears flattened and eyes wide on the Fourth of July. Other pet owners can tell tales of shredded couches, destroyed shoes, and stained carpets. Regardless of what form your pet's anxiety takes, all good pet owners want to prevent this type of behavior. (Especially since fireworks can go on for days in some parts of the country!)
For pets, fireworks aren't just a noise—they're something that your pet can feel. As a small animal, the vibrations are much harder to ignore. Fortunately, you can take some steps to calm your pet before fireworks season arrives. Here are some of the easiest ways to deal with this common issue.
1. Use Other Noises to Your Advantage
When it's already noisy outside, it can seem counterintuitive to make your house a noisy place—but keeping a low background of your own noise can help drown out the fireworks. Turn on the TV, play some video games, or play classical music (or whatever kind you enjoy) at a medium volume. These noises will help reduce the contrast between outside and inside, helping your pet relax more easily.
2. Make Eye Contact
Believe it or not, making eye contact with your pet can reduce their stress. Slow-blinking at your cat is even a way to tell your feline friend that you love them! While cats might just stare back, they certainly appreciate the gesture more than they might express. And let's face it, anyone who feels loved is a lot less stressed out.
3. Swaddle Your Pet
While pets might not love hugs as much as you do, swaddling your pet can have a calming effect. Grab a blanket or towel, and firmly wrap your pet. Some pets might not enjoy this, but many find it calming. You can also grab a ThunderShirt to help keep your buddy relaxed.
4. Use Calming Supplements
Many vets will prescribe your pet calming medications, but you can also use more natural supplements to help them relax. Just make sure these supplements are for pets and not humans. Feliway is a natural solution for cats involving a pheromone that can help keep kitty calm, and there are similar products for dogs. When shopping for calming medications, make sure to avoid Benadryl. This over-the-counter medication is great for allergies, but it doesn't actually do anything for your pet's mood. Instead, reach for some CBD or hemp treats to offer calming support.
5. Play With Your Pet
A tired pet is a happy pet! Your furry friends won't want to play while fireworks are going off, but if you can burn off energy beforehand, you might find that they're a little more accepting of the whole thing. Utilize walks, runs, new toys, and dog parks for canine companions. Make use of new toys, laser pointers, feather wands, and cat puzzle games for feline friends. Tire them out and they'll have a lot less energy to worry about the fireworks.
6. Stay Stress-Free Yourself
Animals are masters of understanding their owners. If you're stressed out, your pet can feel it. One of the best and easiest things you can do this Fourth of July season is to remain calm yourself. If you're not worried about anything, your pet will assume that the explosions can be safely ignored, for the most part, anyway.
Combining any of these steps can go a long way toward minimizing stress in your pet when loud noises are at hand. Knowing how to keep pets calm during fireworks means you'll have an easier time calming them down in other situations as well. In fact, you can follow these tips any time of the year when you feel your pet could be anxious.
Remember to look for signs of anxiety. If you're outside with your animal during noisy situations, like fireworks, parades, construction, storms, or traffic, keep a hold on your pet's leash or have the animal inside a fenced in area. They can bolt when you least expect it.
Must-Have Calming Products
Soothe your pup's anxiety with the gentle, calming pressure of this vet-recommended vest.
These natural hemp treats offer calming support to keep your dog relaxed, happy, and tired during the next fireworks display. The effects usually kick in within an hour—and be sure to feed them with food.
Good luck and happy celebrating!