July 4th and Fireworks Anxiety

With July 4th happening this weekend, we probably have a lot on our minds; shopping for brisket and beer, finding out the best location to watch the fireworks, or arranging events with friends and neighbors. It’s easy to forget about our furry housemates. July 4th can be one of the scariest days of the year for dogs and cats. It’s impossible to explain to them that they don’t need to fear the loud, random noises happening all around them. However, there are several ways to try and manage their anxiety and help them get through the night.

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Ideally, we would like to work with our pets in the long-term and help eliminate their fear entirely. This can be a long and arduous process. Considering that July 4th is this weekend, there are a few quick remedies that might help lessen their anxiety on Saturday.

  • Pressure wraps: A surprisingly effective anxiety relief is applying a pressure wrap to your dog during stressful events. This can be done by putting on small tight-fitting t-shirt. A Thundershirt is specially made for this purpose. They come in different sizes to ensure a proper fit. SSAH has Thundershirts available for purchase and would be happy to show you how to apply the wrap and also help you find the right size for you dog.
  • Create a safe place: Does your dog run to her crate as soon as she hears the pop of a firework outside? That’s OK! That’s where she feels safe. It can be very beneficial to your dog or cat to create a comfy bed in a closet, bathroom, or other small room to help them feel safe and secure. Giving them their favorite chews or stuffed Kong in their safe space can also help to distract them from the chaos they are hearing all around them.
  • Natural remedies: Many people swear by a few natural products safe for use around animals. Rescue Remedy is an all-natural supplement that can be added to your pet’s drinking water on the day of their stress-inducing event. There are also pheromone producing products, such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. Both products can be purchased at SSAH in different forms, including diffusers, collars, and sprays.
  • Medications: If the above mentioned tactics don’t make a difference, one of our veterinarians may be able to prescribe something for an extreme case of anxiety. There are many medications available, and a recent physical exam with a doctor will help us assess which medication is the right fit for your pet.
  • Helpful tips for home: Turning on loud music or television to help block out sounds, and tiring your dog out with plenty of exercise beforehand. Also, be mindful of your behavior around your pet. Sometimes coddling them while they are stressed is just a way of telling them “I’m worried too!” It’s best to go about your business normally. Pets can be very in tune with their owner’s emotions; if you act confident, it will reassure them there’s nothing to worry about.
  • More helpful tips: During the event, it is ideal to walk your dog as few times as possible and always on a leash, even in the backyard. In very extreme cases, some dogs have been known to jump through glass windows.  This is very extreme, but if there is a risk of that keep your dog in a bathroom where they will be safe.  Of course always make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tag with your contact information and a microchip that has been registered with your most recent information. It is also wise to refrain from bringing your dogs to a fireworks event. Noise anxiety can occur at any age, and you don’t want to be stuck with a fearful, stressed out dog miles away from home. If you have any questions regarding firework anxiety, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. One of our technicians would be happy to discuss any issues or concerns you have about this upcoming weekend. Wishing you and your pets a safe and fun Independence Day from the staff at Spicewood Springs Animal Hospital!