Preparing Your Pet for Fireworks
Written by Small Door's medical experts
Summer and July 4th bring warm weather and fun celebrations, but they also bring stressful situations like fireworks. The loud noises and vibrations of fireworks can cause many pets to feel anxiety. It’s important to learn ways to help your pet through the stresses that come with fireworks.
What to do Before the Fireworks
Expose them early. Try playing YouTube videos and sound recordings of fireworks to your pet, so they can become acclimated in the comfort of your home. Start with a low volume, and over time, slowly increase the volume to desensitize your pet. Give plenty of treats, pets, and other positive reinforcements when they hear these recordings so they learn to associate positive rewards with fireworks.
Prep a safe space. Closets and other small, internal spaces in your home can dampen the sounds and vibrations of fireworks to make your pet feel safer. Make sure your pet is in a room without windows to limit exposure. You can make this space cozy with a t-shirt that smells like you and even play classical music to help relax your pet and counteract the ambient noise outside.
Exercise them beforehand. When you anticipate fireworks like on July 4th, make sure your pet gets enough mental and physical stimulation before they happen. If they’re tired, they’ll be less sensitive to the often overwhelming stimulation of fireworks.
Prepare a cosy, safe space for your pets during fireworks, ideally in a room without windows to minimize noise.
What to do During Fireworks
Provide fun distractions. Give your pet their favorite treats, puzzle toys, and other fun stimulation to take their mind off the scary noises.
Stay with them. If possible, stay with your pet during the fireworks. Simply being there can help them feel comfortable and safe.
Consider medical options. If your pet suffers with anxiety surrounding fireworks, talk to your veterinarian. There are anti-anxiety medications that can help your pet relax and reduce their stress levels.
Do not bring your pet outside to see and hear the fireworks in an attempt to expose them to the sounds and vibrations. Fireworks are not a natural occurrence and oversaturating pets with this aggressive stimuli can make them withdraw and become more fearful. It is natural for pets to run away from loud noises so forcing them to endure this can cause more harm than good.
Products That Can Help
Anti-anxiety medication. If your pet is particularly anxious and fearful, speak with your vet about medications to help lessen their anxiety.
Calming aids. Over-the-counter products like thunder shirts (similar to a weighted blanket for humans), calming collars (that release relaxing pheromones) and pheromone diffusers such as Feliway may help. Note that these products work best for mildly anxious pets.
CBD products. While CBD products have not yet been scientifically proven to help reduce anxiety in pets (and there are no products evaluated or licensed by the FDA for this), there is anecdotal evidence that they can help with mild anxieties. At Small Door, we trust ElleVet Science products as they are heavily involved with leading veterinary research institutions in the possible applications of CBD in pets.
Contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns when preparing your pet for fireworks. Small Door members can reach us 24/7 through our mobile app.