In the past few months, we have been plagued with fireworks. They go off every night from 5 pm to 3 am most nights. While some pets do not mind them, many pets (dogs, cats, birds, etc.…), are completely petrified by them. There have been several instances of pets running away from home and never return. Some pets have even suffered severe and even fatal injuries either impaling themselves or being hit by a car. Getting your pet microchipped, make sure the microchip is up to date, and putting a tag on your pet is a smart decision, it will help them be found. If you don’t have a microchip, there are GPS colors that track the location of your pet via an app, such as, PETKIT Tracker.
Below we have listed some reasons pets fear fireworks, along with ways you can help ease your pets ’fears and keep them calm.
Reasons Pets fear Fireworks:
1) They are LOUD!
a. Animals have a very acute sense of hearing, much more acute than ours, so those loud booms and whistles are very alarming to them.
2) They are Unpredictable and sound like a threat!
a. Even though we expect fireworks every night now, for our pets it is just another day. The firecrackers for them, come without warning. The loud noises and flashing lights look different each time. Throw in the fact that some are louder than others, and they come at different intervals, so pets cannot get used to them.
b. The noise combined with the unpredictability of fireworks causes pets to perceive them as a threat. This triggers their fight or flight response. Your pet may bark at the noises or try to run away and hide. Other signs of anxiety may be present such as restlessness, panting, pacing, and whining.
a. The noise from fireworks is inescapable. So, pets may try to hide or run from the threat. Unfortunately, there is no escape from them, as you can still hear the loud boom indoors.
How to Prepare BEFORE the fireworks:
1) Microchip or acquire a PETKIT Tracker. Make sure all the information is up to date. If you have horses or if your pet is kept outside, you might consider marking a safety halter with your contact info and leaving it on your pet during this stressful time. If your pets aren’t microchipped, talk to your vet! It is a simple, affordable procedure that can greatly improve the chances of your pet coming home.
2) Consider Desensitization training. There are many videos, and DVDs on the market, or plenty of downloadable content which can give you the opportunity to introduce your pet to a variety of potentially disturbing noises in a controlled manner. WARNING: If your pet is SEVERELY noise phobic, sound CDs may make the situation worse, it maybe a good idea to consult an animal behaviorist instead.
3) Take a current photo of all your pets, just in case.
4) Make sure the environment is safe and secure. This means making sure they are contained somewhere where they cannot accidentally harm themselves. If you leave your pet in the yard, make sure they have a safe place to hide, or a breakaway tie-out to prevent them from accidentally choking themselves or impaling themselves on your fence. Evaluate your options, and choose the safest area for your animals, and make improvements if needed to make the area more secure. A safe, escape-proof room or a crate with padding (blankets, beds), on the bars, is a great option for when you have to leave the pet at home alone.
5) Walk and feed your pet before dusk. It may be sometime before its safe to venture outside again for your pet to relieve themselves. Once the fireworks begin your pet will likely be too anxious to eat or use the bathroom.
6) Give your pet a CBD supplement or calming treat/collar/diffuser at least, PET ARMOR pills (available in-store only)1 an hour before the fireworks begin, as well as on an EMPTY stomach. Since they seem to begin around 5 pm, I would say give them the supplement, at least by 4 pm to make sure it has time to absorb into the body.
7) If natural supplements do not work, call your vet. They can prescribe a medicine called Trazadone that is usually prescribed as an anti-anxiety medicine.
How to keep your pet safe and calm DURING the fireworks.
1) Distract your pet from the noise by having the TV, radio, air conditioner, and fans blowing. Basically, create as much “white noise” as possible to lessen the sound of the fireworks. In addition, make sure all windows and doors are tightly closed to reduce the sound and draw the curtains to block the flashes of light.
2) Try to Act as if everything is normal. This is because your pet will pick up on any odd behavior. Remain calm, happy, and cheerful as this will send positive signals to our pet.
3) Your pet might choose to hide under the bed or behind furniture. If they come to you for comfort, make sure that you give it to them. Ignoring your pet would only make things worse as they would not understand your withdrawal from them.
4) Reinforce calm behavior by giving them treats or playing with them.
5) Never try to force your pet to face their fears-they will just become more frightened.
6) Never try to tempt them out if they do retreat, this may cause more stress.
7) Never tell your pet off. This will only make them more distressed. It is important to remember that it is natural for a pet to fear loud noises and unfamiliar sights and sounds.
8) If you need to open your front door, ensure your pet is safely secured in another area first.
We sincerely hope that these tips help your pet through this difficult time. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to comment, email, call, or text us! We are always happy to help.
Jasmine Ward and The Bark & Purr Team
Everything for your Best Friends.