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For many of us, the 4th of July is a holiday we look forward to all year. Friends, family, food, and fireworks make this summer event a beloved tradition that we can’t imagine doing without. Our pets, however, may feel differently. The loud noises, smell of smoke, and general chaos of this all-American celebration can create some major anxiety for our four-legged friends.

Fireworks displays aren’t the only thing pets have to worry about in the summer months. Storm season is upon us, too; and the same pets that are fearful of fireworks likely deal with anxiety surrounding the sounds and sights of a summer thunderstorm. Fortunately, there are lots of tools at our disposal for helping to reduce thunderstorm and firework anxiety in our pets.

Reducing Thunderstorm And Firework Anxiety

We may never be able to “cure” our pets of their thunderstorm and firework related anxiety, but there are steps we can take to help keep them feel more secure:

  • Create a “safe room” for your pets. Find an out of the way spot, where doors and windows can be closed to limit stimuli is ideal. Play the radio, TV, or utilize a fan to muffle the sounds outside. Make sure your pet has access to food, water, bedding, and favorite toys.
  • Distract your pet during storms or fireworks displays by engaging in play or working on obedience training.
  • Confinement makes some animals more anxious, so allow your pet to come and go freely throughout the home. Leave crates open so pets may enter and exit them at will.
  • Many pet owners find that a pressure wrap or garment, such as the Thundershirt, reduces their pet’s anxiety. Consider purchasing something similar for your pet.
  • Some extremely anxious pets benefit from anti-anxiety medication. Consult your veterinarian for more information.

Safety Tips

  • Don’t leave pets outside during a storm or fireworks display. Make sure that outdoor cats and dogs are brought in well in advance.
  • We don’t recommend taking pets to public fireworks displays. The sights, sounds, smells, and large amounts of people can overwhelm even normally calm pets.
  • Fearful pets may try to escape, so keep all doors and windows securely closed during thunderstorms and fireworks displays.
  • Even with our most conscientious preparations, accidents can and do happen in the noise and confusion of a storm, party, or fireworks show. Make sure your pet is wearing his or her collar with up-to-date ID tags at all times. If you haven’t already had your pet microchipped, consider doing so.

Stress is a health risk for pets, just as it is for humans. Doing all you can to reduce your pet’s fear of loud noises is just as important for his or her quality of life as it is for yours. Please don’t hesitate to contact  your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic with any questions or concerns relating to your pet’s anxiety.