Fireworks Safety and Pet Anxiety

A little dog hiding under a couch

Hurrah! Fireworks season has begun! But wait…although fireworks can be entertaining for humans, they may be a nightmare for our pets. The bright lights, loud noises, and general chaos can turn even the calmest pet into a shedding, shaking, miserable mess. Even worse, pets may attempt to flee the noise, not knowing they could become lost or injured.

Fortunately, acute pet anxiety can be managed. In the interest of your pet’s health and wellbeing, Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital would like to offer a few techniques you can use to help them through this challenging time of year.

Fireworks Safety

Before the fireworks begin, there are some things you can do to help keep your pet safe and sound:

  • Walk your property to ensure the yard is secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks unexpectedly, will your pet be able to escape?
  • All cats and dogs should wear ID tags and a collar with your current contact information.
  • If your pet is not yet microchipped, now may be a good time to consider the procedure. A microchip is your pet’s best chance at a happy reunion should they become lost.
  • If your pet is microchipped, make sure the chip is registered with your current contact information.
  • Take your dog for a nice long walk before the fireworks start. Exercise releases tension and anxiety, and it allows your dog to burn off excess energy, making destructive behavior less likely.

Lastly, please don’t take your pet to a fireworks display. The day after the Fourth of July is one of the busiest times for animal shelters – don’t let your pet be one of the many who are lost this summer!

Managing Pet Anxiety

Acute anxiety that results from a particular event – like fireworks – is different from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety doesn’t tend to improve on its own (in fact, it often worsens over time). If you feel your pet may have separation anxiety, please contact us for help.

Try the following techniques to manage pet anxiety and fireworks:

  • Create a safe, quiet space for your pet to retreat to once the fireworks start. This can be a back bedroom, laundry room, or mudroom. If your pet is crate trained, their crate is a perfect choice.
  • Make sure your pet has their bed, food, toys, and other necessities in their safe space.
  • Check on your pet often, and offer reassuring pets and cuddles.
  • Mask loud noises using a white noise machine, tv, or radio.
  • Distract your pet with their favorite treats, toys, and games.
  • Try a pressure-based anxiety reduction product, such as a Thundershirt.
  • If you know your pet has experienced anxiety during fireworks in the past, please call us to discuss anti-anxiety medication.
  • Behavior therapy may be helpful. Depending on your pet’s needs, we can make a referral to a veterinary behavioral specialist or a certified professional dog trainer.  

Managing pet anxiety during fireworks can be challenging, but with a little preparation and planning, you can help your pet through this stressful time. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call.