Fourth of July – Firecracker Anxiety
The Fourth of July is a fantastically fun holiday crammed with celebration, food, friends, and of course—fireworks. Though fireworks can be the highlight of the season for adults and kids, for pets they can be confusing, nerve-racking, and even terrifying. This holiday season don’t ignore your pet’s anxiety about fireworks. Instead, help them feel comforted so they can enjoy the show along with you.
Dog behavior expert Cesar Millan recommends taking a long walk with your pet before the celebrations begin, and we agree. A key safety consideration for July 4 in Texas is the HEAT! Know your pet’s limits and don’t over-due it to the point of exhaustion. While true your pet will have less energy to concentrate on the chaos of fireworks, heat stress can cause severe debilitation and even be life threatening.
When fireworks go off, distract your pet with obedience commands and a treat. “Watch me!” is my favorite command because it brings your dog’s focus back to you, their caretaker. Focusing on your smiling face and warm voice will help your pet see that fireworks aren’t a disaster, but something fun. You can also distract your dog with a coveted toy, bone, or game.
Your pet takes cues from you when they are uncertain, so it’s important to be calm. Don’t coddle your pet, become frustrated with them, or project negative emotion. Be an assertive, caring leader and your dog will follow your example.
If you know your dog is scared of loud noises, try some conditioning training to prepare in advance. You can download the sounds of fireworks and firecrackers on your computer and let your dog get used to them at a low volume while they are going about their daily business. Food motivated dogs learn very quickly there is nothing to fear if fed to the sounds of rockets bursting in air. Slow increases in volume over periods of days to weeks, each animal will set his or her own pace, and your pet will eventually become desensitized to the sounds. Odors are hard to replicate and the smell of ozone, if you have nearby street celebrations, might be agitating so employing the use of an interesting and strong scent from a pine branch or lavender sprig may help.
If your pet just can’t seem to cope with Fourth noise despite these steps, you can consider pressure wraps, which the Wall Street Journal recently featured as an anxiety reliever. You can also visit us at LazyPaw Animal Hospital to ask about specific anti-anxiety training for your furry friend, or order a prescription for anxiety medication via our competitively priced online pet pharmacy.
If your pet displays anxiety, don’t ignore them, and absolutely never, ever punish them. Acknowledge that something is different, pet your animal, and offer some comforting words. You don’t have to spend all night cuddling, but a treat or two combined with calm behavior will show your pet everything is okay. If you’re curious about more techniques for improving dog behavior, visit us at LazyPaw Animal Hospital, our top rated vet practice in Frisco, Texas.
Founded in 2005 by husband and wife team Dr. Brent Bilhartz and Dr. Julaine Hunter, LazyPaw Animal Hospital in Frisco, Texas is a different kind of animal hospital. We are veterinarians without distraction, and ours is a culture of genuine care.]]>