Published: Friday, 3 July 2020
As the Fourth of July approaches, the barrage of nightly fireworks around many of our neighborhoods only seems to get louder. If you're a pet owner, you might spend your nights worried about how they’ll react to the loud explosions, and the holiday might cause more anxiety than excitement. Here are a few quick tips to help keep your pets safe and calm amidst the chaos outside.
Prepare Some Distractions
Sometimes a good ol’ toy is all it takes to calm the nerves of your dog or pet. Give them something interesting to take their minds off the noise, like a Kong filled with cold peanut butter, cheese, or another dog-friendly food.
This trick works for cats too! If you’re in the market for a toy mouse, catnip scratcher, tube, or another playful accessory, make sure it’s ready to go when the fireworks come around. These toys can function as a healthy distraction from stressors.
Create a Safe Space
Whether you’ve got a cat, a dog, or another animal, sometimes they just need a place to lay low. If your pet doesn’t already have a bed, see if you can make one out of blankets, cushions, pillows and whatever else might work. If they do have one, cozy it up with the items listed above, and throw in some of their favorite toys to keep them calm.
Get Your Pet Used to the Noise
Part of the reason why fireworks can be so terrifying for our pets is the harsh, random nature of the explosions. Consider creating an association between fireworks and other trivial activities by playing a fireworks sound effects video, such as this one, at a low volume while doing something normal and nonchalant with your pet. Throw a toy around or test their abilities to follow commands while rewarding them with treats! This will help associate the noise with normal, everyday activities.
Drown Out Some of the Noise
Even with all windows closed, the booms from outside can be overwhelming. A good solution to this is to provide another source of noise to help distract them. Leave the TV on with something soothing, like The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. Additionally, YouTube is home to many videos of natural scenes made for dogs, but they can help any pet stay calm! You can also tune into some soft-spoken podcasts, NPR Radio, or relaxing music the cover up the fireworks.
Tire Them Out Beforehand
Leading up to the evening, it’s a good idea to engage in plenty of physical activities with your pets to get them tired. Walk your dogs, play with your cats, or do whatever you can to get them active. Try to go outside with them while adhering to lockdown guidelines – the great outdoors is the perfect environment for animals to release energy and reduce anxiety.
While these tips are important, they'll be much more effective if you make them your own. After all, every pet is different! With your help, you can turn a bad night into one your pet can manage.