Exploding lights and thunderous claps of sound maybe spectacular for humans, but, what goes boom in the air could send our pets running for their lives. In fact, many animal shelters always report an increase in lost pets during each annual Independence Day. Other days of the year, including New Year’s Eve, can also present problems.
The number one factor most pet owner’s overlook, when it comes to firework displays, is how sensitive an animal’s ears are to sound. Any booms, whistles or crackling sounds we might love to enjoy can create uncomfortable pain in your pet’s ears.
What can a pet owner do to make sure his or her pet remains calm? Following is a list of our best practices when it comes to helping your pet cope during this type of celebratory event:
Make sure your pet is properly tagged – this cannot be stressed enough, for firework festivities or any other time of the year. During fireworks shows, pets have been known to pursue every escape route to find safety including pushing open doors, jumping through windows and more. Should your pet become separated from you, having your pet tagged guarantees your pet will easily be found and returned safely home.
Leave your pet indoors – pets, particularly those prone to be fearful, are better off spending this celebration time indoors, in an environment that feels safe for them. Before your celebration begins, make sure to seal off any escapes. Close all window treatments. If your pet is used to the lights on, make sure to do so. Leaving the television, or calming music, on, at its regular sound level, can provide comforting sounds while helping to cover up the loud noises associated with fireworks.
Spend time with your pet before the event – taking your dog for a walk, playing with your cat, or any other bonding type of activity, can help, expend energy and/or reassure him or her before the event, possibly helping alleviate stress later.
Allow pet to determine his or her safe place – some animals choose to go under a bed while others may choose to go into a closet or some other hiding place. Rather than forcing your pet to do what you think would help, let their instincts guide them in choosing the best place for them to spend this time.
Praise your pet’s calmness – reinforcing good behavior works well anytime, but especially during this time. Offering supportive comments can reassure your pet that everything is okay and that his or her calmness during this time is the best way to handle this situation.
Work with your veterinarian – if your pet is prone to anxiety, your veterinarian can recommend medications that might prove helpful in alleviating your pet’s fears.
Do not discipline your pet for reactive behaviors – if your pet has shown any destructive behaviors or had an accident, remember, this is just your pet’s way of reacting to intense stress. Disciplining him or her will only add more stress to an already overly stressed situation.
Do not put plastic glow sticks around your pet – even though these popular pieces of Fourth of July plastic jewelry are not poisonous, they can cause intestinal issues, and even more serious medical conditions if swallowed.
Call NorCal Vets today, at (415) 413-7363, and let us help you meet your pet’s needs, so your pet can feel safe and calm, resulting in an enjoyable time for all.