Fourth of July means fireworks displays. While we humans understand and expect all of the bangs and booms that come with this, our pets do not. The typical noises of the holiday are often terrifying for animals. But don’t worry—Island Pet Veterinary Hospital has got you and your furry friend covered with few tips on how you can mitigate your pet’s fear this Fourth of July holiday.

Prepare your pet. If your pet has an opportunity to become accustomed to the sounds of fireworks slowly, the real thing on the Fourth of July won’t be as scary. Google “firework sounds for dogs” for several free options to help desensitize your pet from the loud bangs. First, play the sounds softly while your pet is doing something he enjoys, like eating or playing. Gradually increase the volume until it sounds like an actual fireworks show.

Provide a safe place with distractions. Some pets might prefer to be secluded in a closed, secure area of your home, like the basement or an interior room. Close all windows, window treatments, and doors. Then, distract your pet with classical music to help lessen the sounds outside, and play games with him or give him chew toys to keep him busy.

Try products. There are many products meant to reduce anxiety and fear in pets. Some include:

  • Naturally occurring and calming pheromones (Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats) that can be plugged into your wall in the form of a diffuser, sprayed in your pet’s safe place, or even worn as a collar
  • Security and anti-anxiety wraps, like the Thundershirt, Storm Defender, Anxiety Wrap, and others
  • Nutritional supplements and special diets meant to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and maintain emotional balance (ask us what we recommend!)
  • Earplugs for dogs, originally intended for hunting dogs who were around guns, can help muffle the noise (if you have luck keeping them in your dog’s ears)

Talk to us about anti-anxiety medications. For pets with severe anxiety (watch for signs like shaking, destructive behavior, decreased appetite, incontinence, and excessive salivation), call our office. Often, the best option for these pets is prescription anti-anxiety medication, which will alter your pet’s brain chemistry, rather than just causing drowsiness, to reduce anxiety.

With some preparation and precautions, the Fourth of July doesn’t have to be scary for your pet! If you have any questions, please contact us.